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Activist Groups Allege Abuse of Hundreds of Child Immigrants at US Border

Immigration activist groups have filed a complaint against the US Customs and Border Protection agents, citing 116 allegations of child abuse at the US-Mexico border in Texas and Arizona.

via Katherine Welles at Shutterstock
via Katherine Welles at Shutterstock

The complaint includes the allegation that more than 80 percent of those child immigrants did not receive enough food and water, around half were not given medical care, and nearly one in four minors were abused physically. Unfortunately, the allegations don’t end there. The activist groups, which include the National Immigrant Justice Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, are also alleging unsanitary conditions and the sexual abuse of children—and the complaints say all of this has been going on for years.

“After completing a perilous journey into the United States, many are subjected to various forms of abuse, harassment and other harms at the hands of the Border Patrol,” part of the complaint reads. “Children consistently reported being held in unsanitary, overcrowded and freezing-cold cells.”

Chris Cabrera, a leader within the National Border Patrol Council, estimates that more than 60,000 of these unaccompanied minors have crossed the Mexican border into the US just this year. Often these children are coming to escape poverty or violence in Mexico or Central America and are hoping to join a parent who is already in the country. Many unaccompanied minors end up turning themselves in to Border Patrol in hopes of being helped into the US. The allegations come just a few days after the Obama administration assigned a third US military base to these unaccompanied child immigrants for emergency housing.

“Given these longstanding problems, and in light of the rising number of unaccompanied children seeking relief from dangerous conditions in their home countries,” the complaint reads, “the need for broad and lasting agency reforms is clear.”

Media Resources: ABC News 6/11/14; CNN 6/12/14; ACLU 6/11/14; Reuters 6/9/14, 6/11/14

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