Back in 2018, Trump’s zero-tolerance policy forced migrant family separation. This led to thousands of children being separated from their families. Later that year, under court orders, the federal government reunited these children with their families. But now, a new turn on awful living conditions for children detained at the border shows that the condition for migrant children at the border has taken a serious turn for the worse.
An article, released by the Associated Press, led to the removal of 300 children from a local Border Patrol Station in Texas. A legal team, which conducted the research for the first report, showed the miserable and appalling conditions children lived under during their time at the Border facility.
The discovery of these terrible conditions comes after months of silence, where children were forced to nurture other children, care for themselves and try to stay alive. When removed from the facility, it was reported that children were covered in mucus, urine, and breast milk. Children at these facilities were not supplied with any basic essentials, such as toothbrushes, showers, soap, or proper beds and clothing. The facilities basically resemble jails and lack any form of adult caretakers.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the lack of hygiene products resulted in a mass spread of diseases, where children who were plagued with the flu, among other viruses. Rather than being cared for, these children were merely quarantined and expected to live it out. This has resulted in several deaths within the facility already. So far, 7 children have died in these detention camps.
Kids dead in the Trump camps: Darlyn, Jakelin, Felipe, Mariee, Carlos, Wilmer, Juan.
Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle, 10
Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7
Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, 8
Mariee Juárez, 20 mos
Carlos Hernandez Vasquez, 16 Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez, 2
Juan de León Gutiérrez, 16
— Virginia Heffernan (@page88) June 23, 2019
For the most part, the Customs and Border Protection Agency claims that this is a funding issue. The severe underfunding to maintain these facilities has turned these facilities into the dirty, miserable ones they are today. Without the funding, there is no way to fully manage an overcrowded immigration system with such a low budget and there’s no way to fully modernize and provide all the necessities for humane survival.
This would usually prompt people to ask, “why won’t the US do anything about it?”. However, as it turns out, the conditions of these detection facilities are legal. Sarah Fabian, the spokesperson for the Trump administration, notably stated that the government is not forced to provide those basic hygiene products to migrants.
Fabian argued that the current conditions are “safe and sanitary,” taking advantage of the phrase’s flexibility. In response to the class lawsuit filed by Lisette Flores (young girl in detention), Fabian maintained that the definition of “safe and sanitary” was open to interpretation and that it is up the agencies to make decisions on what they deem reasonable. However, as previously established, the lack of funding that goes toward these agencies makes it difficult to fund these basic necessities.
Trump is now giving Democrats two weeks to figure out how to control the border crisis, or he will move forward with mass deportation. The President has chosen to ignore the terrible conditions that migrant children have to face under his administration. Even though his administration has worked to reunite children with their parents, the process is arduous and a new law allows for separation if the parent has committed any criminal offense (some as minor as traffic laws).
In Trump’s eyes, all of the conditions children have to face are just part of a bigger political playing field. In an interview with Meet the Press, Trump blamed the Democrats for the crisis at the border, citing their unwillingness to change asylum laws as a primary reason for children’s suffering. He’s brought up that this wouldn’t be an issue if migrants didn’t try to enter America in the first place.
The growing concern also comes with a growing population of children crossing the border. This means that eventually, the already prison-like facilities will become even more overcrowded. With more and more children crossing the border daily, there’s no doubt that the death toll will increase if not managed soon.
It’s difficult for Border Patrol to manage these increasingly overcrowded facilities, and this, coupled with the lack of funding, further deepens the crisis at the border. Ultimately, the fluctuating political climate will make a solution difficult to find.
Featured Image via Google Maps