/ August 27, 2019 . . .Lilly Fowler
When awake, the children were told by guards, “Don’t touch me, I don’t want to get your diseases.” The guards threw food on the ground, prompting fights among hungry children.Children were never given toothbrushes or toothpaste and had limited showers and soap. Girls on their period were provided only one sanitary pad a day. One girl who had bled through her clothing said she “had no choice but to continue to wear her soiled underwear and pants.” These are the stories told by immigrant children recently detained at the border, unaccompanied, and transferred to various facilities in Washington state, where 100 beds are reserved for migrant children in facilities contracted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The allegations all pertained to incidents at border facilities. Last month, licensors from the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families and staff from the Washington state Attorney General’s Office heard these stories during interviews with 22 immigrant children 12 to 17 years old. Now the accounts will serve as supporting evidence in a new lawsuit being filed by Washington and 18 other states, in addition to the District of Columbia. They are suing the Trump administration over its attempt to effectively undo the two-decade-old Flores Settlement Agreement. The suit targets U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. Read more here.
Through our coalition efforts we have shut down the detention camps in Tornillo and Carrizo Springs, TX, prevented Ft. Sill in Oklahoma from becoming a detention camp, and seen 1,500 youth released from the Homestead Florida camp.
The fact that the Department of Health and Human services is now saying it will eventually close these camps proves that they never had to cage these kids but rather have chosen to carry out the cruel policies of the administration. We need to keep the pressure on Homestead and ensure that the 17 year olds there are released before they turn 18 as they are being handed over to adult detention centers on their birthdays! We will close Homestead and keep on fighting to close all detention centers and get justice for migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Here’s what we need you to do: