From Reveal <[email protected]>
Subject Kids on the Line: ‘Nobody takes care of us here’
Date July 12, 2019 7:08 PM
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(AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

In the last few weeks, we’ve gotten more details about the conditions inside facilities holding migrant children and adults near the border.

Advocates who visited the children last month spoke publicly ([link removed]) about flu quarantines, lice infestations ([link removed]) and babies drinking milk out of dirty bottles.

Now we have firsthand accounts from the children inside, thanks to court declarations filed in a landmark case that protects the rights of immigrant children.

Here’s what the children have to say ([link removed]) :
* “Nobody takes care of us here. I try to take care of my little brother and sister since no one will take care of them. There are little kids here who have no one to take care of them, not even a big brother or sister. Some kids are only 2 or 3 years old and they have no one to take care of them.” – 11-year-old from Ecuador
* “I’m in an isolation room now because I have the flu. I wasn’t sick when I arrived. I think everyone here has the flu. … I haven’t had a shower the whole time I have been here. Two times I was allowed to brush my teeth, but the doctor took the toothbrush away after I used it.” – 16-year-old from Honduras
* “I’m so hungry that I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with hunger. Sometimes I wake up from hunger at 4 a.m., sometimes at other hours. I’m too scared to ask the officials here for any more food.” – 12-year-old from Guatemala
* “They took us away from our grandmother and now we are all alone. … We have been here for a long time. I have to take care of my little sister.” – 8-year-old from Honduras
* “I have been at this facility for several days. I have not been told how long I have to stay here. I am frightened, scared and sad.” – 5-year-old from Honduras

Under federal law, migrant youth cannot be held at Border Patrol facilities for more than 72 hours, but the advocates said they spoke to children who had been there for weeks.

In addition, a new report by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office shows photos of adults and children sleeping on the floor inside cramped cells.

A team of lawyers representing children in the Flores case now has asked a judge ([link removed]) to call for immediate inspections of the facilities and medical evaluations for the children. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered an “expedited mediation” ([link removed]) between the lawyers and the government. The lawyers’ allegations, Gee wrote in her order, demand “immediate action.”

Read the court filings here. ([link removed])

AURA BOGADO SPEAKS TO MSNBC ABOUT OUR IMMIGRATION COVERAGE

Reveal’s Aura Bogado appeared on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” last week to talk about conditions at Border Patrol facilities.

During the interview, Bogado said these conditions aren’t new. Bogado, who has covered immigration for more than 10 years, said she spoke to children who also spent weeks at these facilities during the Obama administration.

“A lot of people think about immigration now that we have this president,” she said. “And it’s unfortunate that we weren’t thinking about it back in 2014.”

Watch the interview here. ([link removed])

WHAT WE’RE READING

Members of a Facebook group for former and current Border Patrol agents have joked about migrant deaths and posted vulgar images of Democratic lawmakers. (ProPublica ([link removed]) )

Several of the postings reviewed by ProPublica refer to the planned visit by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, including (Rep. Alexandria) Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar, to a troubled Border Patrol facility outside of El Paso. Agents at the compound in Clint, Texas, have been accused of holding children in neglectful, inhumane conditions.

Members of the Border Patrol Facebook group were not enthused about the tour, noting that Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from Queens, had compared Border Patrol facilities to Nazi concentration camps. Escobar is a freshman Democrat representing El Paso.

One member encouraged Border Patrol agents to hurl a “burrito at these bitches.” Another, apparently a patrol supervisor, wrote, “Fuck the hoes.” “There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets,” posted a third member.

Perhaps the most disturbing posts target Ocasio-Cortez. One includes a photo illustration of her engaged in oral sex at an immigrant detention center. Text accompanying the image reads, “Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC.”

Immigration raids targeting immigrant families in several cities across the U.S. are set to move forward in the coming weeks. (The Washington Post ([link removed]) )

(President Donald) Trump’s threats have left immigrants living in the United States illegally in a fog of dread, putting neighborhoods on edge and making residents fear venturing outside.

Eva, who works at a plant nursery in Homestead, Fla., said she has stopped going to the park and makes trips to the grocery store every few weeks.

“I don’t know when I leave in the morning if I’ll come home in the night,” said Eva, who arrived illegally 19 years ago from Mexico and whose teen daughter is a U.S. citizen.

“They could come and get me at any time,” she said. She spoke on the condition that her last name not be used.

Families from Angola, Congo and Cameroon are among those languishing at a Mexican camp near the border, waiting for their turn to seek U.S. asylum. (Los Angeles Times ([link removed]) )

Growing numbers of Africans who find themselves blocked by tighter refugee policies in Europe and the United States take advantage of loose visa requirements in Brazil and Ecuador to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.

They then use a cross-continental land bridge to the U.S.-Mexico border – typically trekking through Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala to Mexico. They mingle with the much larger, though slower-growing, numbers of Central Americans, as well as Haitians and Cubans.

In 2018, the last year with complete data, Mexican immigration authorities encountered nearly 3,000 African migrants. In the first four months of this year, they already had encountered nearly 2,000, with Cameroon, Congo and Angola the top countries of origin.

Your tips have been vital to our immigration coverage. Keep them coming: [email protected]

– Laura C. Morel
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