Nearly 250 migrant children who were detained at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Clint, Texas, will be moved to the housing system of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday after the reports of bad conditions in the installation.
“Last week, the ORR identified a shelter space in its network for 249 (unaccompanied children) who were at the Clint Station facilities of the Border Patrol. These children should all be under the care of HHS as of Tuesday, June 25,” HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer said in a statement on Monday.
The announcement comes days after CNN reported a team of lawyers, doctors and advocates who warned of what they called major health and hygiene issues at several US Customs and Border Protection facilities. UU in Texas, including Clint’s.
“The children had colds and they were sick and they said they did not have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser. Some children who were detained for two or three weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower ” said Clara Long, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, on the Clint facility.
“One said they had not showered in three weeks. Hygiene and living conditions like this create a risk of spreading infectious diseases. I’m very concerned about the public health emergency.”
Stauffer acknowledged Monday that unaccompanied migrant children “are waiting too long at CBP facilities that are not designed to care for children,” a result, he says, of the “unprecedented” number of children arriving.
As of June 10, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to HHS, an increase of 60% over last year, says HHS.
The Trump administration last week presented the legal argument that detained migrant children did not need toothbrushes, medicines and blankets in order to be in “safe and hygienic conditions.”
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Jake Tapper on the “State of the Union” show that “of course” these elements are basic for children, but he criticized Congress when asked about the inaction of the Trump administration.
“What I want to say is that everything is part of the allocation process,” said Pence.