U.S. relocates migrant children over 'squalid' conditions

Almost 250 migrant children held in unsanitary conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Texas have been moved into the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a new report.

An official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday that the "majority" of the roughly 300 children detained at Clint, Texas, last week have been placed in facilities operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Neither the federal official speaking to the Times or Sanders in his message said whether the resignation was connected to criticism over the agency's handling of the substantial influx of migrant families along the US-Mexico border.

In one case reported in Clint, attorneys said a 2-year-old boy without a diaper was being watched by older children. Lawyers who visited the facility described a scene of chaos and sickness, with children unable to shower or change into clean clothes for weeks on end.

"Almost every child I spoke with had not showered or bathed since they crossed the border - some of them more than three weeks ago", she said.

Six children have died since late past year after being detained by the agency along the US-Mexico border. Lawyers who visited the facility found children of all ages locked up without adequate food, water, sanitation or medical care, with older children having to care for the younger ones.

Many children interviewed had arrived alone at the US-Mexico border, but some had been separated from their parents or other adult caregivers including aunts and uncles, the lawyers said.

United States law requires children who cross the border without a parent or legal guardian to stay in the Border Patrol's short-term holding facilities for no longer than 72 hours.

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Ms Stauffer said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had referred almost 10,000 children to HHS in May, one of the highest monthly totals in the history of the program.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official confirmed to the BBC that approximately 100 migrant children were returned the facility.

Following the arguments, the judges said the matter was "submitted for decision".

The woman and three children may have been dead for days before they were found by US Border Patrol near the Rio Grande in South Texas on Sunday, according to a local law enforcement official, who asked not to be named. "Would you agree to that?"

There are mounting concerns for children at other facilities, with another group of lawyers claiming to have witnessed similar conditions at a Central Processing Centre in McAllen, Texas.

"The death of a child is always a bad thing, but here is a situation where, because there is not enough funding ... they can't move the people out of our custody", Sanders said.

"The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn't have access to soap to wash their hands. "It's a health crisis. a manufactured health crisis", she said".

  • Sonia Alvarado