Elora Mukherjee, the director of Columbia Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, lately interviewed 70 detained migrant kids in Clint, Texas. They have been so soiled they’d a stench, she says, and was unable to be close to them with out feeling sick.
The lawyer testified to Congress on Friday, telling the House Committee on Oversight and Reform concerning the horrid situations she noticed whereas inspecting amenities which are a key a part of the Trump administration’s baby separation coverage.
Over the course of three days, Mukherjee stated she witnessed insufficient bedding, clothes, and noticed no hygiene instruments like cleaning soap, toothbrushes and diapers.
“Never before have we learned of 700 children being detained in a facility built for 104 or 106 adults,” Mukherjee stated in her testimony. “Never before have we met with children detained in [Customs and Border Patrol] custody for a week, much less weeks and nearly a month. Never before have we had to directly intervene to get critically ill babies admitted to the hospital.”
She stated there have been a number of events the place her staff needed to intervene to get kids fed as a result of they have been too scared to ask guards for meals. Many kids feared that their dad and mom have been dead or by no means returning.
Some kids, she stated, have been too traumatized to even communicate. One six-year-old lady could not even recite her title, she solely repeated “I’m scared” again and again. Another younger boy sobbed for an hour straight.
“I spent nearly an hour with this child, first trying to interview him and then just letting him sit on my lap while I rubbed his back,” she stated. “He wept almost inconsolably for most of the time.” Later, she instructed Congress, a guard got here and tried to bribe him with a lollipop in order that he would return to his cell.
Mukherjee was a part of a 10-person staff despatched to examine situations on the holding facilities to ensure they complied with court-ordered requirements that the camps be “safe and sanitary.” The group was allowed to talk to detained kids however they have been denied free entry and even excursions of the ability.
“The extraordinary trauma inflicted on separated children is not an incidental byproduct of the administration’s family separation policy — it is the very point,” she stated in her testimony. “The federal government seeks to inflict so much distress on children seeking asylum that other families would be deterred from trying to seek refuge in this country.”