New study finds ‘acute and worsening crisis’ at US detention facilities

World Today

A just-released government study is renewing debate over families living in U.S. detention facilities.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s internal oversight office paints a picture of border facilities in an “acute and worsening crisis.”

The report, which includes vivid pictures, finds extreme overcrowding among children, families and single adults. Thousands of migrants are being held longer than policy allows and detainees, including children, often have no access to showers, laundry facilities or clean clothes.

The study backs up the findings of Democrats in Congress who recently toured detention facilities.

“What I saw were jail cells, cement jail cells where children are being kept alone in group-like settings. Children that are sitting and sleeping on the floor with an air conditioner going full blast wearing nothing but the dirty clothes and being covered with an aluminum type of sheet. Imagine your child having to live under those conditions. It is inhumane, it is embarrassing,” U.S. Congresswoman Norma Torres said.

The Associated Press reports a 12-year-old girl from Central America was detained along with her 6-year-old sister for 12 days.

“They gave us little food. Some children did not bathe, they didn’t bathe them. They treated us badly where we were. They were mean to us… some children, like the age of my sister, they would cry for their mother or their father. They cried for their aunt, they missed them,” said the teen.

The report concludes the conditions at these facilities pose an immediate risk to detainees and staff. DHS, which oversees U.S. immigration agencies, acknowledges the system is not equipped to deal with the crush of migrants, including families, arriving from Central America.

The Department of Homeland Security wants Congress to change U.S. immigration laws and has called for more funding. Conditions at these detention facilities are so bad that one senior manager called the situation a quote “ticking time bomb.”