Government Transfers Detained Migrant Children Out Of Unsanitary Conditions

"Last week ORR identified shelter space in its network for 249 (unaccompanied children) who were located at the CBP Clint Station facility-these children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday, June 25th", HHS spokesperson Evelyn Stauffer said in a statement Monday.

Lawyer Elora Mukherjee said nearly all of the children had been separated from the adults they accompanied across the border.

Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso on Monday, according to Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval, spokeswoman for Representative Veronica Escobar.

One of them told the BBC that children were "locked up in these horrific cells where there's an open toilet in the middle of the room and they eat there, they sleep there".

Guards in the facility told Binford they were upset by the conditions, but didn't have the training or resources to take better care of them, she said.

In an interview earlier this week with The Associated Press, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders acknowledged children need better medical care and a place to recover from their illnesses and urged Congress to pass a $4.6 billion emergency funding package that includes almost $3 billion to care for unaccompanied migrant children. Escobar said some of the children were temporarily sent to Border Patrol Station 1 on the north side of El Paso.

The seven people found dead this week by US Border Patrol included a woman and her three children who were thought to have died from heat exposure and dehydration, Reuters news agency reports.

This still image from video shows the entrance of the U.S. Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas.

Photo provided by Custom and Border Protection to a reporter on a tour of detention facility in McAllen, Texas.

"One boy I spoke with said his family didn't get mattresses or blankets for the first two nights, and he and his mom came down with a fever", said Long, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

The lawyers visited the Clint facility last week to monitor compliance with the Flores agreement, a decades-old legal settlement that establishes how long migrant children can be detained and the conditions of their detention.

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A lawyer who visited a US migrant holding facility where hundreds of children were being held earlier this month says that what she witnessed left her "horrified".

"It's within everybody's common understanding that, you know, if you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it's not safe and sanitary. Do you agree with that?" said Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima.

"No one would argue that this is secure and sanitary, safe and sanitary - at least I don't think you're arguing that, are you?"

A temporary facility set up to hold immigrants is pictured at a US Border Patrol Station in Clint, Texas.

Michael Scott Moore, who was held hostage by Somali pirates for three years, tweeted "Somali pirates gave me toothpaste & soap".

US Vice President Mike Pence has since said the Trump administration believes migrant children should have access to soap, toothbrushes and other basic amenities.

Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days in an Iranian prison, had a similar sentiment.

Following the arguments, the judges said the matter was "submitted for decision".

Long and a group of lawyers inspected the facilities because they are involved in the Flores settlement, a Clinton-era legal agreement that governs detention conditions for migrant children and families.

United States law requires children who cross the border without a parent or legal guardian to stay in the border patrol's short-term holding facilities for no longer than 72 hours and to be moved to HHS shelters as quickly as possible. That's in part because over the previous year, migrant children have been staying longer in federal custody than in the past, leading to a shortage of beds in facilities designed for longer-term stays. "These children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday".

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