Children detained by CBP share horrific experiences in their own words

first_img“I [felt] scared at the time; [the experience] made me question why I came [to the United States],” Letitia, also from Honduras, said in the report. When asked by advocates from AI Justice what they would say to CBP or the federal government about their treatment, many of the children said the same thing: to be treated like human beings. “I would ask the government, why do you mistreat the people in detention centers?” Cesar, originally from Guatemala, said in the report. “People come suffering along the journey, and then have to come to a place where it’s cold, or where the food is not good, where children are separated from their mothers.” He told advocates that there was a boy next to him “who would cry for his mother” after being separated from her. We cannot allow the abuses against children detained on our watch to go unanswered for. “We hope this piece uplifts their voices as AI Justice continues to advocate for the just treatment of migrant children and families in the United States,” AI Justice said in the report.- Advertisement – “Children described being held in frigid rooms, sleeping on concrete floors, being fed frozen food, with little or no access to medical care,” AI Justice said in its report, which also found that hundreds of children interviewed by the organization have been subjected to verbal abuse by officers. Nearly 150 others said they were physically assaulted. But children also described being cruelly denied necessary, basic needs.“The worst was being hungry and that we did not shower, did not brush our teeth, and could not change our clothes,” Teresa, who came from El Salvador, told advocates. Recall that a court last year unanimously had to inform the federal government that, yes, detained children do in fact need toothbrushes and soap. “We also could not call our families,” Teresa continued. “I only spoke to them twice at the beginning.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement – Katty, originally from Honduras, told AI Justice that “[t]he worst was having to sleep on the floor with the cold.” For years, detained migrants and their advocates have referred to border facilities as hieleras, or iceboxes, because of how freezing cold they can be. “The most common complaint was that the border facilities are kept at frigid temperatures that leave the children cold and uncomfortable,” the report said. “I would tell them that I am a mother of a child, and it is very bad for [the officers] to tell mothers that they were going to take away their children,” Letitia continued. “They should not take children away from their mothers.” Sintia, a 17-year-old from Honduras, said “I would tell them it is not a place for a kid. I would ask them: Do my rights not matter or have value while I am detained [in their custody]?”They matter, and the 2020 presidential election represents our chance to finally hold this out-of-control agency, along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), accountable for their abuses. “Congress should halt any additional funding for CBP in any future appropriations bill,” AI Justice said in one of its recommendations, “until CBP ensures existing resources are not misused and are allocated to significantly improving detention facilities, medical access and language access.”last_img read more