Protesters hold up signs as they walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at the End Family Separation NYC Rally and March in New York City in 2018. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
June 25 (UPI) -- Over 200 migrant children held at an overcrowded Border Patrol station have been moved following reports that hundreds were detained in unsanitary conditions without adequate food or care.
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said on Twitter that only 30 of 255 children remain at the Clint, Texas, Border Patrol station in El Paso County after her office sent a letter Friday to acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders and Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.
"Children do not belong in detention and [President Donald Trump]'s failed policies are only harming children and promoting needless and cruel family separation," Escobar said on Twitter.
The announcement comes after lawyers with Human Rights Watch said children had lived in the Clint short-term facility for up to four weeks, well above the 72 hours maximum limit set by U.S. law.
"Many of the kids in the Clint facility are too young to wash or feed themselves, yet they are left to fend for themselves with the help of related older children," said Clara Long, a senior researcher at HRW. "The detained children we spoke with told us about an infant as young as 6 months old being cared for by an unrelated teenager because the baby's mother was in the hospital."
In the letter to Sanders and Provost, Escobar said HRW lawyers found 59 of the 255 children to be under age 12 and many of them had been separated from their parents, who had no idea where their children were.
"Although the Clint Station is outside of my district and I have never had the opportunity to inspect the facility, I am nonetheless disturbed that children have been kept in these conditions in El Paso County and would ask that you update me while this matter is fully investigated and until these children are released from Department of Homeland Security custody and reunited with their loved ones," she said.
Escobar said she had spoken with Provost and Sanders the previous day about the conditions.
Between June 2018 and May 2019, more than 700 children had been separated from their parents and placed in federal shelters by U.S. border agents, the Houston Chronicle reported.
"The Trump administration is intent on criminalizing asylum, detaining as many individuals as possible, and on needlessly separating children from their family members," Escobar said in a Friday tweet following the revelations at the Clint border facility. "It doesn't have to be this way."