Migrant kids detained in Arizona allege sex assault, retaliation for complaining

Courtesy of New York Post: [https://nypost.com/2019/07/09/migrant-kids-detained-in-arizona-allege-sex-assault-retaliation-for-complaining/]

July 09 / 2019


Migrant children being detained in Arizona reported being sexually assaulted and punished by US border agents, who allegedly forced them to sleep on hard concrete and called them slurs when they complained about the conditions, according to an NBC News report on Tuesday.

The outlet cites dozens of accounts from children at a Yuma detention facility collected by Department of Health and Human Services case managers between April 10 and June 12.

In one report, a 15-year-old girl from Honduras described how a large, bearded Customs and Border Protection agent, put his hands inside her bra, pulled down her underwear and groped her in front of other officers during what was supposed to be a routine pat-down.

The girl said “she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other officers and laughing” during the entire process, according to the report of her account.

A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala said that when he and others in his cell complained about the taste of food and water they were given, agents forced them to sleep on concrete in retaliation.

When detained children would get close to a window, a 17-year-old boy from Honduras said officers would scold them and call them an offensive term in Spanish.

One child was so scared of the officers, he said he wore the same soiled underwear for 10 days instead of asking for a clean pair, according to one of the reports.

The reports described similar unsanitary and crowded conditions as what the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General from the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley sectors found in Texas facilities, according to the outlet.

Kids in Yuma reported being denied a phone call, not being offered a shower and being forced to sleep outside on concrete with only a Mylar blanket.

One child reported “sometimes going to bed hungry because dinner was usually served sometime after 9 p.m. and by that time she was already asleep,” according to the documents.

The children who gave accounts to case managers had been held at the border station longer than the 72 hours permitted by law, the outlet reported.

In a statement about the Yuma allegations, a CBP spokesperson said the allegation of sexual assault is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct,” the statement said. “The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated.”

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