The leaders of almost 40 childcare-related advocacy groups are urging lawmakers to take better care of child migrants and their parents “no matter their country of origin.”
In a recently penned letter, groups like the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society and Children at Risk did not mince words about how lawmakers have failed children stuck in federal detention camps along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We urge you to support additional measures to ensure that all children and parents who are in the care of the federal government, no matter their country of origin, receive compassionate, humane, and fair treatment,” read the letter.
“Migrant children who are in U.S. custody awaiting review of their asylum requests should reside in safe and clean environments with their parents, relatives or sponsors. During any brief stays in border or detention facilities, children should have access to sufficient food, clean water, beds, clean clothes, soap, and other necessities, in addition to recreation, health care and educational services,” it continued.
Also mentioned was the fact that such conditions were traumatizing children, which could undermine “a child’s healthy brain development and ability to form healthy attachments,” according to the childcare-related advocates in the letter.
In recent months, independent observers, journalists, members of Congress, and even border patrol agents themselves have attested to the miserable conditions at the migrant camps, like overcrowding, cruel treatment by guards, and lack of food, water, and showers.
Republican lawmakers have either dismissed such reports or attempted to shift the blame onto Democrats.
When Vice President Mike Pence visited a Border Patrol facility last week in McAllen, migrants in the camp were filmed telling Pence and reporters they had no access to showers. Migrants detained in other McAllen camps have also reported no access to basic hygiene, like soap and towels, leading one immigrant attorney to conclude last month that conditions at one camp were a “manufactured health crisis.”
So far, seven migrant children have died in or shortly after being released from federal custody.