250 children living under inhumane conditions at Texas border facility, doctors and attorneys say


FILE – In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 file photo migrants mainly from Central America guide their children through the entrance of a World War II-era bomber hanger in Deming, N.M. A panel of appeals court judges in California will hear arguments in the long-running battle between advocates for immigrant children and the U.S. government over conditions in detention and holding facilities near the southwest border. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

Doctors and attorneys say hundreds of young people are living under inhumane conditions at a border control station in Clint, Texas. They say they found about 250 infants, children and teens locked up for weeks without adequate food, water and sanitation.

A researcher told “CBS This Morning” that at the Clint facility, about 20 miles southeast of El Paso, more than a dozen children had the flu, and that some were in quarantine cells without adult supervision. The researcher added that young girls were taking care of a sick two-year-old boy who was in filthy clothing without a diaper, and that the children said they were fed uncooked frozen food and had gone weeks without bathing. CBS News reached out to immigration officials, and has not yet heard back.

Apprehensions in the El Paso border area have spiked more than 600% since last year. In May, the Office of the Inspector General pointed to dangerous overcrowding at the El Paso facility, showing migrants packed into holding cells.

According to current rules, children should only be held by Border Patrol for 72 hours before they’re transferred to Health and Human Services. But advocates say that children are being held for longer, and that they’re just being transferred between detention facilities to comply with the guidelines. 

In an interview with the Spanish language network Telemundo, President Trump was asked about child separations and his administration’s zero tolerance border policy. 

“When I became president, President Obama had a separation policy. I didn’t have it, he had it. I brought families together,” Mr. Trump said, adding “I inherited separation. Obama built the cages. I didn’t build them. Obama built the cages. That’s number one. Obama separated. I’m the one that did a presidential order bringing the parents together.” 

Separations did occur under the Obama administration. But in April 2018, it was the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy that led to thousands of forced separations. That policy forced immigration officials to criminally prosecute all migrants apprehended at the border, not just those with criminal backgrounds. 

The president eventually passed an executive order ending family separations last June. But the government has admitted it could take years to identify the thousands of children separated from their parents.  

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