Politics

Lawyer who visited Texas border protection facility describes “inhumane” conditions

McAllen, Texas — The U.S. government has now removed most of the more than 300 migrant children who were found last week living in squalid conditions at a border protection facility in Texas.

Lawyers say hundreds of migrant children were forced to sleep on the floor for weeks without enough food, many battling the flu and a lice infestation. That’s on the American side of the border, in a Customs and Border Protection facility in Clint, Texas, just outside El Paso.

“It is degrading and inhumane and shouldn’t be happening in America,” said Elora Mukherjee, who is part of the team of lawyers who visited the facility. “The children had not had access to a single shower or bath, they were wearing the same dirty clothing they crossed the border with.”

CBS News confirmed Monday that roughly 300 of the children at the Clint facility were moved to other sites. The conditions also shocked judges from the 9th Circuit. Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian argued that in shorter stays in CBP custody, basic necessities may not be required.
 
On Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Vice President Mike Pence said the Democratically controlled House must move on a humanitarian bill.

“We’ve asked for more bed space, we’ve asked for more support. Our Customs and Border Patrol agents are doing a job, but the system is overwhelmed,” Pence said.

Pence blames Congress for harsh conditions at migrant detention centers

 
In South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the summer heat may have claimed the lives of four migrants in Hidalgo County. Between October 1997 and September 2018, Border Patrol said more than 7,500 migrants have died along the southwestern border. But the number only includes reported deaths and could be much higher.

The area where the bodies were found is known as “devil’s corner” because of the oppressive heat and it’s tucked away. The woman who was found dead was in her early 20s, two of the children were toddler age and one was an infant. The FBI is leading the investigation.

Graham Kates contributed to this report.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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