A two-year-old boy locked in a Border Patrol facility near El Paso, Tx., wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, have been doing their best to feed and soothe the toddler who was handed to them by a guard. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the station, reports the Associated Press. The bleak portrait emerged Thursday after a legal team interviewed 60 children describing neglect and mistreatment at the hands of the U.S. government. On Wednesday there were three infants in the station, all with their teen mothers, along with a one-year-old, two 2-year-olds and a three-year-old. There are dozens more under 12. Fifteen have the flu, and 10 more are quarantined.
Three girls were trying to take care of the two-year-old boy, who had wet his pants with no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt. Law Prof. Warren Binford, who is helping interview the children, couldn’t learn anything about the toddler. “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity,” said Holly Cooper, who co-directs University of California, Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic. Many children interviewed had arrived alone at the U.S.-Mexico border, but some had been separated from their parents or other adult caregivers. Government facilities are overcrowded and five immigrant children have died since late last year after being detained. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders acknowledged that children need better medical care and a place to recover from illnesses. He urged Congress to pass a $4.6 billion emergency funding package includes nearly $3 billion to care for unaccompanied migrant children. The Border Patrol is holding 15,000 people; the agency considers 4,000 to be capacity.