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(U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP)

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets.

One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl’s diaper.

The U.S. Border Patrol on Sunday allowed reporters to briefly visit the facility where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border, responding to new criticism and protests over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and resulting separation of families.

More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that’s divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. The cages in each wing open out into common areas to use portable restrooms. The overhead lighting in the warehouse stays on around the clock.

The Border Patrol said close to 200 people inside the facility were minors unaccompanied by a parent. Another 500 were “family units,” parents and children. Many adults who crossed the border without legal permission could be charged with illegal entry and placed in jail, away from their children.

Reporters were not allowed by agents to interview any of the detainees or take photos.

Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy, which directs Homeland Security officials to refer all cases of illegal entry into the United States for prosecution. Church groups and human rights advocates have sharply criticized the policy, calling it inhumane.

Stories have spread of children being torn from their parents’ arms, and parents not being able to find where their kids have gone. A group of congressional lawmakers visited the same facility Sunday and were set to visit a longer-term shelter holding around 1,500 children — many of whom were separated from their parents.

“Those kids inside who have been separated from their parents are already being traumatized,” said Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who was denied entry earlier this month to children’s shelter. “It doesn’t matter whether the floor is swept and the bedsheets tucked in tight.”

In Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for people trying to enter the U.S., Border Patrol officials argue that they have to crack down on migrants and separate adults from children as a deterrent to others.

“When you exempt a group of people from the law … that creates a draw,” said Manuel Padilla, the Border Patrol’s chief agent here. “That creates the trends right here.”

Agents running the holding facility — generally known as “Ursula” for the name of the street it’s on — said everyone detained is given adequate food, access to showers and laundered clothes, and medical care. People are supposed to move through the facility quickly. Under U.S. law, children are required to be turned over within three days to shelters funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Padilla said agents in the Rio Grande Valley have allowed families with children under the age of 5 to stay together in most cases.

An advocate who spent several hours in the facility Friday said she was deeply troubled by what she found.

Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, met with a 16-year-old girl who had been taking care of a young girl for three days. The teen and others in their cage thought the girl was 2 years old.

“She had to teach other kids in the cell to change her diaper,” Brane said.

Brane said that after an attorney started to ask questions, agents found the girl’s aunt and reunited the two. It turned out that the girl was actually 4 years old. Part of the problem was that she didn’t speak Spanish, but K’iche, a language indigenous to Guatemala.

“She was so traumatized that she wasn’t talking,” Brane said. “She was just curled up in a little ball.”

Brane said she also saw officials at the facility scold a group of 5-year-olds for playing around in their cage, telling them to settle down. There are no toys or books.

But one boy nearby wasn’t playing with the rest. According to Brane, he was quiet, clutching a piece of paper that was a photocopy of his mother’s ID card.

“The government is literally taking kids away from their parents and leaving them in inappropriate conditions,” Brane said. “If a parent left a child in a cage with no supervision with other 5-year-olds, they’d be held accountable.”

Dr. Colleen Kraft, the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that she visited a small shelter in Texas recently, which she declined to identity. A toddler inside the 60-bed facility caught her eye — she was crying uncontrollably and pounding her little fists on mat.

Staff members tried to console the child, who looked to be about 2 years old, Kraft said. She had been taken from her mother the night before and brought to the shelter.

The staff gave her books and toys — but they weren’t allowed to pick her up, to hold her or hug her to try to calm her. As a rule, staff aren’t allowed to touch the children there, she said.

“The stress is overwhelming,” she said. “The focus needs to be on the welfare of these children, absent of politics.”

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31 thoughts on “Hundreds Of Migrant Children Held In Cages At Border Patrol

  1. This fake prez has a personality disorder that is so unstable and very disturbing. He has a sadistic personality. What prez literally wraps himself around the flag? A sicko!!!! He needs to go!!

  2. E-DOG on said:

    We as Black people have always allowed others to hijack our struggle..First the LGBT , now illegal immigration…You don’t hear Hispanics or any other group actually doing anything to further our struggle..they just jump on the bandwagon and being the loving and forgiving people we are , we allow it to happen..

  3. CiscoKid on said:

    Where are BlackAmericaWeb articles from the years that the 0bama administration put illegal aliens in those same “cages” in that same facility under the same circumstances?

    • Passing Through! on said:

      The government was trying to “move those children out of those shelters and connect them with their parents, most of whom were already in the United States. & some of Those were kids who fled central America due to violence & ended up in US & were in the process of being moved to shelters. There’s a difference in trump taking parents away from their kids.

      • CiscoKid on said:

        Same thing this administration is doing, and ONLY to the people who bypass the legal points of entry at the border, and cross ILLEGALLY, then claim ‘asylum’ after they’re caught. Asylum-seekers who come in LEGALLY are NOT separated. Again I ask you, where are the Black America Web stories? I searched the archives, and I can’t find them.

  4. The 1 on said:

    Black America Web please quit posting stories about Latinos, I can assure you that latino websites are not posting stories that pertain to the struggles of black folks. One of the problems with our people, we are always fighting for somebody else, but they never fight for us. I’m old enough to remember when crack cocaine hit the scene in the 80’s. I saw first hand how it destroyed our community and we still have not recovered 30 plus years later. No one cared then or now. We black folks must start understanding we do not have any friends but each other.

  5. americanize on said:

    First of all let me say for the record this is down right horrible.But large numbers of latinos voted for 45,none of these people steped up in large numbers to support us when race soldiers are murdering un armed black men,women,and children,so I say hold ur own nuts.Black America we have no friends.

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      @americanize
      **
      so I say hold ur own nuts.

      LOL!! You’re on fire today Americanize! You’re right Latinos identity as white. I remember this story on CNN where this woman voted for trump because her husband was Hispanic/Latino and his ass end up getting deported. They don’t understand that Jeff Sessions is a pure 100% neo Nazi racist. They believe they identify with white people and its the white man who’s sending them packing, not the black president but the white devil they voted for.

  6. Justbeingme on said:

    I don’t feel that the children should suffer because there parents are not legal . There is a better way of doing things. This is a disgrace and trump is making a mockery of this country.

    • Earl on said:

      PARENTS OF Mexican children should be BLAMED for putting their children in Harms-Way, not Trump or any Political Party.

      • myoungmay on said:

        Amen, Amen, and Amen!! People, will you let someone come on your property and stay, ILLEGALLY! And stop blaming the administration for the parents chose to do in spite of the consequences. I guess we should be a borderless nation and let everyone cross at will.

    • CiscoKid on said:

      I will assume you weren’t born yesterday. The laws that are being enforced now have been in place for at least the last 30 years. They were enforced by Clinton, Bush, and 0bama. When did you start caring?

      • Theo on said:

        @CiscoKid, first & foremost the Parents should NOT have put their children in harms’-way. As such, the PARENTS should be BLAMED for endangering the safety of their own children…it’s so easy to point the finger at the other fellow for your own mistake.

  7. Specialt757 on said:

    Gosh, this is awful. You mean to tell me in 2018 we cant think of a better way. Our government should be completely embarrassed but they are way too stupid to understand the magnitude of this inhumane act.

    • Lelagh on said:

      When parents from foreign Country’s entered the USA illegally, with their children, knowing full well the possible consequences of their illegal status, it is their fault that their children are separated from them when caught. Its not our Politicians fault, but, the fault of the adults who come here illegally. We are not their babysitters!

  8. Willie on said:

    Mexicans hate Black People….Mexicans & South Americans benefit from the Civil Rights Movement, yet they look-down on African Americans—in their hearts they despise African Americans.

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      I think Brazilians, and people from Argentina, Peru, Venezuela those countries who try and identify white tend to look down at blacks more than Mexicans. But sadly the AmeriKKKa hates them just as much as they hate black people. White supremacy is a global sickness. The actions of this current administration should be a lesson to all people of color no matter what continent or country you’re from. trump call their countries s**t holes and made the comment “why can we take in immigrants for white countries” mostly all white people think this way.

      • Lelagh on said:

        Excuse me, but, there are Hispanics who are black, too! Are you blind? What do you think Dominicans are? or Black Puerto Ricans? Or Colombians that have African blood?

      • Earl on said:

        @Lelagh: It is a given that the comment u are referring EXEMPTS Black Hispanics, Black Dominicans, Black Puerto Ricans, etc. The previous Brothers & Sisters face RACISM within their homeland & when they come to America.

    • Lelagh on said:

      That is such a RACIST remark! Stop whining…..I have both half Hispanics and Half Black relatives in my family.We even have Native American bloodlines, too.

      • Willie on said:

        Hispanic Medical Clinic in Houston on Bellaire REFUSED to Treat a Black Man with STD!!!! We sued the Hispanic Clinic to prevail in Court. MOST Hispanics despise African Americans is just an Actual Fact Of Life.

  9. Amerykah is such a damn HYPOCRITE!!!!!!
    This country is always meddling into foreign countries affairs–in particular where HUMAN RIGHTS is concerned–when WE VIOLATE folks HUMAN RIGHTS every day!!!!!!!

    Chump’s policy of separating children from their parents is a perfect example of HYPOCRICY!!!!

    If these people were not Black/Brown-THEIR IMPRISONMENT WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!

    • Passing Through!! on said:

      I don’t agree with separating children from their parents that’s child abuse and down right cruel. And AmeriKKKa has the absolute worst record on human rights.

      • Passing Through: I agree with Willie—Note, Mexicans did not protest on behalf of Black Children being separated from their parents during slavery!! Mexicans did not Protest with African Americans for the right to Vote in America; Equal Education, etc.

      • Passing Through!! on said:

        I feel you Theo. No other brown group stands in solidarity with black people. I do feel bad for the children but I wouldn’t protest for Hispanics .

      • Theo on said:

        PassingThrough, ur “bad feelings for the children” reveals ur innate humane nature, which humane nature is ur DNA; life has taught me well that Mexicans use that humane nature to exploit or take advantage of to their advantage. This is proven by the fact Mexicans benefit from the Civil Rights Movement by African Americans; the Right to Vote, Equality Under the Law, and so on, and so on. In return, they truly despise African Americans. They teach their daughters, “don’t date a negro, malo”

    • CiscoKid on said:

      Dear L, You are right. America is a horrible place for these poor, innocent people. They should go to Mexico where they will be treated better and their human rights will not be violated!

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