Detained Immigrant Children Report Abuse by Border Patrol Agents
"The ACLU and four other immigrants rights groups issued a complaint, Tuesday, detailing reports of what they call systemic abuse against unaccompanied immigrant children by Customs and Border Protection Officials and called on the Department of Homeland Security to put a stop to it.
In addition to the descriptions of freezing cold, overcrowded and unsanitary holding cells, one in four children referenced by Wednesday’s complaint said they were subjected to physical abuse—sexual, beatings, and even torture-style stress positions—by CBP officials More than half of them reported sexual harassment, death threats, and other forms of verbal abuse.
More than half said they were denied medical care and about 70 percent of them say they were detained beyond the 72-hour limit—though many report that it was hard to tell what time of day it was or how many days had passed because fluorescent lights were kept on at all hours.
Over 80 percent of the kids interviewed said they were denied adequate food and water. Many say they became sick after eating the frozen or moldy food the CBP officials gave them. One child said that while he was in custody, the drinking water came from a toilet tank. Many of the children reported being shackled while transported to and from CBP facilities, and 30 percent said that, when they were finally released, money and personal belongings that had been confiscated by CBP officials were not returned to them.
Spokespeople for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Border Patrol did not return immediate requests for comment on this story. In an email to The Arizona Republic, DHS spokesman Michael Friel said, “While in temporary custody, CBP strives to protect unaccompanied children with special procedures and safeguards.”