A Border Patrol agent described the perilous journey unaccompanied kids take to get to the US border together with recalling the harrowing account of 1 younger woman who couldn’t communicate after she was gang-raped whereas making the trek.
Oscar Escamilla, the performing govt officer for the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, described in an interview with Reuters the dire circumstances the minors are being housed in at federal detention facilities and disclosed particulars about their journeys as the Biden administration scrambles to deal with the inflow of kids making their means to the US.
“A couple of month and a half in the past, I used to be again right here speaking to one among the little ladies, you recognize, and I instructed the congressional delegation simply the identical factor. Proper,” he mentioned in the interview.
“We had been going to ship her to the hospital. And as I obtained nearer to her, I seen that she couldn’t communicate. And I requested the medical workers what occurred. And the motive she was going to the hospital was as a result of she had gotten gang raped. And the motive that she couldn’t communicate was as a result of she had misplaced her voice in the course of whereas she was getting raped. These issues hit exhausting.”
Escamilla mentioned the migrant processing heart in Donna, Texas, is holding 4,100 migrants, and most of them are unaccompanied – 4 occasions its pre-coronavirus pandemic capability.
He added that 2,000 of the minors have been held longer than the 72-hour authorized restrict and a few of them have been in the facility for greater than 15 days whereas they await placement in shelters overseen by the Division of Well being and Human Companies.
“It’s out of my fingers,” he mentioned. “For no matter motive, they’ve fallen via the system or via the cracks.”
Video that accompanied the interview with Escamilla exhibits kids – some as younger as 3 – sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on padded flooring mats whereas wrapped in Mylar blankets inside area walled off with plastic sheeting.
Teams of kids waited for drink containers and cheese crackers, crowded in opposition to one another with out area for social distancing, as others sat inside a brightly coloured playpen, utilizing coloring books or watching a film.
A younger woman washed her hair in an industrial-looking sink
“We’re not in the enterprise of detention. We’re pressured into the enterprise as a result of we will’t flip them over to anyone,” Escamilla mentioned of the circumstances.
He mentioned a lot of the kids – coming from Central America and Mexico – make the trek alone.
“These kids cross by themselves. Clearly, the mother or father pays a payment to the smuggler. The cartel member or the smuggler at this level will convey the child over, will convey him to the river, will hand him over to the raft, will place them in a raft and say, ‘OK, go.’ Once you get to the different facet, they’ll clarify to them there’s going to be an officer. They’ll clarify what we put on and inform them. ‘Flip yourselves in to them,’” Escamilla mentioned.
He mentioned the kids all have tales to inform.
“They’ll let you know that they don’t have their mother and father. There’s slightly woman that I talked to a short time in the past. She mentioned that she had misplaced her mother and that she doesn’t have a father. So she’s coming into this nation as a result of her uncle goes to be the sponsor. … And I requested her, ‘What state are you going to? What’s your last vacation spot?’ She mentioned, ‘I don’t know. All I do know is it snows there. It’s all I do know.’”