What a Lawyer Saw at Border Detention Centers

No running water. Violently ill children. A premature baby wrapped in a filthy towel. Here are five alarming conditions witnessed by an immigration lawyer at a detention center on the southern border.

Attorney Describes Horrifying Conditions Inside Detention Center

5 alarming conditions that pushed Attorney Toby Gialluca to speak out after she visited the Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas. to monitor detention conditions under the Flores settlement.

Lawyers visiting a Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, said officers hospitalized four severely ill toddlers last week. The four children, all under the age of 3, had diarrhea and were vomiting, feverish, and coughing. The immigration attorneys visiting the facility reported to the Huffington Post on Friday that some were refusing to eat or drink, and a two-year-old was unresponsive and her eyes had rolled into the back of her head.

Toby Gialluca, a Florida-based attorney, “described seeing terror in the children’s eyes.” Of the people she interviewed, Toby says the shortest stay was 3 days and the longest 17 days. Border detention centers open under the Trump administration have been heavily scrutinized for what many call inhumane treatment and neglect. The immigration lawyers, Gialluca included, feared that the children could have died had they not visited the center.

The administration says centers are overwhelmed, understaffed, and lack crucial resources to care for migrants. Five migrant children have died since December due to rapid spread of illnesses in the centers. The McAllen center recently quarantined three dozen migrants after a teen at the same facility died of the flu.

The lawyers initially visited the center with the intention of interviewing children about conditions in the facility, then ended up asking government officers to hospitalize the many children they met. Gialluca said she and her colleagues met with only a small fraction of migrants at the facility, the largest in the U.S. She said the number of migrants in need of hospitalization is likely much higher than those she met.

This was just a random selection found in unsanitary conditions. Immigrants are detained at length and it’s not a budget issue.