Today's Paper Search Latest In the news Traffic #Gazette200 Drivetime Mahatma Listen Digital replica FAQ Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles + Games Archive
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption Only 30 migrant children remain at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, shown on Thursday, after most of the children were removed after reports of inadequate food, water and sanitation.

The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas after reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for one another with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

Only 30 children remained Monday at the station outside El Paso, said Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection.

Also on Monday, authorities said the bodies of what appeared to be a woman in her 20s and three children -- two infants and a toddler -- were found late Sunday near the edge of the Rio Grande outside the Texas city of McAllen.

Officials said there were no signs of foul play and that the four may have died from dehydration and heat exposure. Authorities believe that the bodies were those of migrants in the country illegally, but neither their identities nor their country of origin had been determined Monday.

In El Paso, most of the infants, toddlers and teens who were held at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, are to be moved by today to shelters and other facilities run by a separate federal agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement said Monday.

Attorneys who visited Clint last week said older children were trying to take care of infants and toddlers, The Associated Press reported Thursday. They described a 4-year-old with matted hair who had gone without a shower for days, as well as hungry, inconsolable children struggling to soothe one another. Some had been locked for three weeks inside the facility, where 15 children were sick with the flu and another 10 were in medical quarantine.

"How is it possible that you both were unaware of the inhumane conditions for children, especially tender-age children at the Clint Station?" asked Escobar in a letter sent Friday to U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner John Sanders and U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost.

Border Patrol officials have not responded to questions about the conditions at the Clint facility, but in an emailed statement Monday, they said: "Our short-term holding facilities were not designed to hold vulnerable populations and we urgently need additional humanitarian funding to manage this crisis."

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Monday that his agency could be out of money to shelter migrant children by next month.

"We are full," he said after a meeting at the White House. "We do not have capacity for more of these unaccompanied children to come across the border. At some point in early July, we are probably going to be out of money. This isn't political; this isn't about immigration."

Customs and Border Protection says that since October, it has apprehended more than 56,000 children unaccompanied by their parents or other caregivers at the border. Azar's agency says it received about 49,000 children from immigration authorities in the entire 2018 fiscal year, which ended in September.

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a bill last week that would provide $4.6 billion in emergency money that President Donald Trump's administration has sought to deal with the migration surge. The full Senate will vote on the bill this week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said.

The House is set to vote on its own version of the legislation this week. A conference committee would be required to reconcile differences between the bills, and it's unlikely that panel could complete the work by Thursday, when Congress is scheduled to leave for a two-week July 4 recess.

Escobar said some of the children at the Clint station were sent to another facility on the north side of El Paso called Border Patrol Station 1. Escobar said it's a temporary site with roll-out mattresses, showers, medical facilities and air conditioning.

But Clara Long, an attorney who interviewed children at Border Patrol Station 1 last week, said conditions were not necessarily better there.

"One boy I spoke with said his family didn't get mattresses or blankets for the first two nights, and he and his mom came down with a fever," said Long, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. "He said there were no toothbrushes, and it was very, very cold."

Vice President Mike Pence, asked Sunday on Face the Nation about the unsafe, unsanitary conditions for the children, said "it's totally unacceptable," adding that he hopes Congress will allocate more resources to border security.

Long and a group of lawyers inspected the facilities because they are involved in the Flores settlement, a Bill Clinton-era legal agreement that governs detention conditions for migrant children and families. The lawyers negotiated access to the facility with officials and said the Border Patrol knew the dates of their visit three weeks in advance.

Many children interviewed had arrived alone at the U.S.-Mexico border, but some had been separated from their parents or other adult caregivers such as aunts and uncles, the attorneys said.

In McAllen, the four bodies were found by Border Patrol agents across the river from Reynosa, Mexico, in an area on the U.S. side of the border that is heavily traveled by Central American families. They were in a brush-covered region southeast of Anzalduas Park on federal property managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, near the state-run Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area, officials said. The FBI was leading the investigation because the bodies were found on federal land.

"Most of the time, we usually find either adults or teenagers, but this is the first time we've actually found infants and toddlers, and it is pretty shocking for us," said Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. Guerra, who broke the news of the discovery on Twitter.

It was unclear what happened to the woman and children whose bodies were found: whether they had gotten lost in the brush in the heat, whether they were already ill when they crossed the river, or whether they were abandoned by smugglers or other migrants. Guerra said they were found in a makeshift staging area, a clearing near the river where groups of migrants often gather after they cross the river. From there, they typically walk deeper into the countryside to look for federal agents.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often," Special Agent Michelle Lee, a spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio, said in a statement.

Information for this article was contributed by Martha Mendoza and Garance Burke of The Associated Press; by Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg News; and by Mitchell Ferman and Manny Fernandez of The New York Times.

A Section on 06/25/2019

Print Headline: Migrant kids moved after facility seen as unsafe

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

You must be signed in to post comments

Comments

  • ARMNAR
    June 25, 2019 at 8:52 a.m.

    Call them what they are: Trumpcamps.

  • SeanJohn
    June 25, 2019 at 9:03 a.m.

    ARMNAR, what’s the solution? Anybody can post a negative comment. All we hear on here is the continual whine from the left, but rarely does anyone offer an idea of how to fix a problem.

  • PopMom
    June 25, 2019 at 9:32 a.m.

    SeanJohn,

    Stop taking children from their parents. For unaccompanied minors, they should be provided the same basic healthcare and food that we provide our prison inmates. This business of not allowing the children to have decent food and healthcare and torturing them as a punitive means of trying to keep refugees from trying to enter the country is horrible. America should not be committing state sanctioned child abuse.

  • hah406
    June 25, 2019 at 10:12 a.m.

    SeanJohn, the solution is to treat them as humans. We would never house prison inmates with no soap, no showers, no clean clothes, no toothbrush or toothpaste, on a hard concrete floor with the lights on 24/7. It is unconstitutional. Everyone in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, is entitled to constitutional protections, but the Trump administration has little regard for that. So you want a fix? Adhere to the constitution and provide the necessary resources to do so.

  • mrcharles
    June 25, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    The same as criminal prison inmates! Yes yes, an astute comparison. Perhaps we can add like we do those awaiting execution, and put some in solitary confinement . Perhaps parents in not so innocent America the home of the brave Indian fighters can be excused from now on for any of their mistreatment of their children cause these migrant children were done this way. After all America is always about "What about the children".

    I too, will not mention any comments about that Jesus fellow that so many not so innocent Americans get teary eyed over. I believe [ that of itself is proof positive of my statements] that Jesus fellow would be so proud of you fellow Americans for the treatment of these children [yes I know they become an inconvenience once born]. Yes sir, tough action by pure Americans on law breaking children would make that Jesus fellow proud. Bet he has not been so proud of our designated Judeo-christian nation since bull "most excellent Theophilus" Connor sicked german shepherds on children who were not being sprayed with high pressure fire hoses.

    Sing with me,.... Jesus does not love all the children who are brown, black, red, yellow. We must have law and order and remember that mercy stuff in the ancient book is just commentary [ if you dont belive me, just read what some of the LR celestial decoders said about children , non white children in 1957].

    And the number of goats keep increasing in a furious pace since DT has become our dear leader.

    Ah yest that whine from the left. Is it similar to the party of NO and its call to inaction by the turtle icon of Kentucky to do no governing when Obama is POTUS and/or democrats have the house? DT solutions seem to be less than a solution than pumping up his base like the speech in Brother where art thou red robed fear monger.

    We of course remember the godnod MM love of migrant children like the love of a deity who drowns babies.

    you too can each day chose to be a good person .... or not. Hey they raised the price of my cheeseburger $.15 to increase wages for those who have microwaves.

  • RBear
    June 25, 2019 at 11:24 a.m.

    Agree with you, Hah. The fact that CBP could rectify the issue quickly shows this shouldn't have ever happened. This is yet another example of agencies knee jerking to Trump's constantly shifting chaotic moves on immigration. He doesn't have a strategy and is taking actions just to rile up a base.
    ...
    What's the solution, SJ? Actually sitting down with Democrats AND Republicans to come up with a real strategy instead of starting a fire, putting it out, then claiming how good he is for putting it out.

  • SeanJohn
    June 25, 2019 at 11:26 a.m.

    Popmom, I believe separating children from their parents has ended. The kids now are either unaccompanied or they’re with their parents. The Border Patrol is completely overwhelmed. Facilities are way over capacity. They’re not being treated poorly intentionally. There is no policy for that. There are only so many people employed to handle the situation and only so many facilities to hold the migrants. But, thankfully there is no crisis at the southern border. We’ve seen this exact same thing under Democrat administration and it keeps getting kicked down the road, Again I ask, what is the solution? How do you either reduce the numbers or provide adequate care for those being held?

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    June 25, 2019 at 11:36 a.m.

    So there once was this place called Rome.
    They had breadlines and unemployment lines too.
    but after expanding borders and no longer fighting barbarians, the barbarians realized if they were roman they could get free stuff.
    Thus rome fell.
    and i am disgusted by my countrmen who laugh and beg for it to happen, they lit hate their fellows and every being this much.
    smugly they hide it.
    no you cant prove it.
    but watch wha they say and do, how they act.
    they hate you.
    they want to burn the USA

  • Illinoisroy
    June 25, 2019 at 11:44 a.m.

    SJ,
    Many gave you solutions and all you've got is apologist platitudes to support misguided policy.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    June 25, 2019 at 11:58 a.m.

    the only response you have is "racist white people" bugg off you freak

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT