Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.

Immigration Law

Handcuffs, assaults, and drugs called 'vitamins': Children allege grave abuse at migrant detention facilities

Blake Ellis, Melanie Hicken, and Bob Ortega, CNN, June 21, 2018 - "A year before the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy resulted in more than 2,300 children being separated from their families at the border in a mere five-week period, a ninth-grader in McAllen, Texas, was taken from his mother. He was riding in a car with friends last spring when the car was pulled over. The teenager, brought illegally to the country by his mother as a baby, was unable to show identification. Police called immigration officials, who arrested the boy and sent him to a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children. John Doe 2, as he is referred to in current legal filings challenging his detainment, became one of thousands caught in a network of shelters and higher-security facilities that house undocumented minors, now gaining attention as newly separated children have been streaming in. Immigration attorneys working directly with migrant children say some of these facilities provide the best care they can, given the circumstances. And a huge shelter in Brownsville, Texas, which opened its doors for a media tour last week, appeared to be clean and well-staffed at the time. But John Doe 2 landed in a far more troubled corner of the system, according to a first-person sworn declaration in a current legal motion against the federal government for unlawful and inappropriate detainment of children. His account is one of dozens describing overloaded and secretive shelters, treatment centers and secure detention facilities for undocumented minors, which at their worst have allegedly been home to neglect, assault and other horrific abuse. ... Elissa Steglich, a clinical professor at the University of Texas Immigration Clinic in Austin, said she's seen increasing numbers of children being taken from parents at the border in recent months, and that in almost all cases, "there's no child-welfare rationale to support it." By separating children needlessly and placing them into a system that can add to the harms they're experiencing, she said, "We've ensured there will be lifelong damage to these children." "