Migrant kids describe the horrific conditions in US border detention centres: 'We are all alone'

01 July 2019 - 06:00 By Unathi Nkanjeni
US President Donald Trump's administration has been blamed for the conditions.
Trump US President Donald Trump's administration has been blamed for the conditions.
Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

Migrant kids, from as young as 5 to 18 years of age, described being cold and hungry for weeks.

The horrific conditions facing migrant children in US border detention centres are in the spotlight after children aged 5-18 described how they are left in freezing and cold conditions for weeks.

The conditions became public when investigators turned into public whistleblowers and told the Associated Press about what they saw at one facility in Clint, Texas.

Legally, the migrant kids are not supposed to be held by border agents for more than 72 hours before being sent to the department of health and human services.

According to a BuzzFeed report, in the stories, gathered by lawyers while visiting Customs and Border Protection facilities holding children, the migrant kids describe the detention cells as cages.

Here are some conditions as told by the children inside the facilities, according to Associated Press.

Boy, age 8

"They took us away from our grandmother and now we are all alone. They have not given us to our mother. We have been here for a long time. I have to take care of my little sister. She is very sad because she misses our mother and grandmother very much … We sleep on a cement bench. There are two mats in the room, but the big kids sleep on the mats so we have to sleep on the cement bench."

Girl, age 16

"We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children. We have one mat we need to share with each other. It is very cold. We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up. 

Girl, age 17

"Once, I needed clean clothes for my baby because she threw up but when I asked for them I was told they didn’t have any available. She is still in the same dirty clothes."

The Trump administration has come under fire after a lawyer argued in court that migrant children are not entitled to soap and toothbrushes at detention centres.

BBC reports the Trump administration lawyer said migrants are required by law to be kept in "safe and sanitary" facilities, which does not include soap and toothbrushes.