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ACLU: Border Patrol Responsible for Chronic Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants

By ACLU Attorney James Lyall
Arizona Daily Star

For years, watchdog groups have issued report after report detailing the brutal conditions faced by children in Border Patrol custody. Since 2008, non-governmental aid organizations have documented at least 1,600 specific examples of children suffering abuse and inhumane environments in the Border Patrol’s detention facilities.

Border Patrol hold rooms are simply not designed for prolonged detention. There are no beds or showers, and detainees are denied recreation. Yet children, including infants and toddlers, are detained in these degrading conditions for days on end.

In June, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and partner organizations submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on behalf of 116 unaccompanied immigrant children, alleging abuse and mistreatment in Border Patrol custody.

Many reported being denied blankets and bedding and being forced to sleep on the floors of unsanitary, overcrowded and frigid cells.

One quarter of these children reported physical abuse, and more than half reported various forms of verbal abuse. Roughly half of the children reported being denied medical care, including several who eventually required hospitalization. Eighty percent described inadequate provision of food and water, and nearly as many were detained by Border Patrol beyond the legally mandated 72-hour maximum.

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