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U.S. moves migrant children out of poor conditions

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/25/19, 11:19 am

WASHINGTON—The United States on Monday moved more than 250 migrant children from a Border Patrol station near El Paso, Texas, after reports revealed inadequate living conditions at the facility. A team of lawyers that visited the station in Clint, Texas, on Thursday said they saw hungry, filthy children in cramped conditions. Teenagers cared for infants and toddlers, and 15 children had the flu while 10 others lived in medical quarantine. “A Border Patrol agent came in our room with a 2-year-old boy and asked us, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’” one girl said, according to the attorneys who inspected the facility. The lawyers are involved in the Flores settlement, a Clinton-era legal agreement about detention conditions for migrant children and families. They said Border Patrol knew the dates of their visit three weeks in advance.

Only 30 children remained at the Clint facility after the transfers, said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. It was unclear where all of the children were headed. Some went to Border Patrol Station 1 north of El Paso, which has mattresses, showers, medical facilities, and air conditioning, Escobar said.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats are battling over a Border Patrol request for more funding to deal with the humanitarian crisis. Border Patrol officials told lawmakers that they cannot handle the recent influx of illegal migrants crossing the southern U.S. border. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders said 4,000 people is the agency’s maximum holding capacity. It is currently holding 15,000. Many of the children came to the United States unaccompanied, but some were separated from their parents, according to the lawyers.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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