Migrant Children Allege Sexual Abuse and Retaliation

[Content Note: Sexual assault; harassment and abuse.]

Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley at NBC News report:
The poor treatment of migrant children at the hands of U.S. border agents in recent months extends beyond Texas to include allegations of sexual assault and retaliation for protests, according to dozens of accounts by children held in Arizona collected by government case managers and obtained by NBC News.

A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy held in Yuma, Arizona, said he and others in his cell complained about the taste of the water and food they were given. The Customs and Border Protection agents took the mats out of their cell in retaliation, forcing them to sleep on hard concrete.

A 15-year-old girl from Honduras described a large, bearded officer putting his hands inside her bra, pulling down her underwear, and groping her as part of what was meant to be a routine pat down in front of other immigrants and officers.

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

A 17-year-old boy from Honduras said officers would scold detained children when they would get close to a window, and would sometimes call them "puto," an offensive term in Spanish, while they were giving orders.

...All children who gave accounts to case managers had been held at the border station longer than the 72 hours permitted by law.
There is much more at the link.

This is not the first time that we have heard reports of migrant and refugee children in detention being sexually assaulted.

In February, Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch disclosed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documents during a House hearing on the Trump Regime's "zero tolerance" policy that revealed HHS had "received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018."

Last July, Rebekah Entralgo and Joshua Eaton at ThinkProgress reported that "a man with a history of serious sex crimes allegations" had been hired as the human resources manager for a shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children in Topeka, Kansas.

Last June, Aura Bogado, Patrick Michels, Vanessa Swales, and Edgar Walters at Reveal News reported that unaccompanied immigrant children were being sent to shelters with known abuse histories, including staff that had sexually abused minors and allowed older children to sexually abuse younger ones.

Children are being tortured by the U.S. government, in its citizens' names, and the U.S. government is justifying that endemic abuse with the utterly fabricated pretense that it's necessary to protect us.

Even if every reprehensible lie Donald Trump tells about the sinister threat posed by undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers were true, and even if his vile nativist policies were actually effective, the cost would not be worth it to me.

I would take my chances with Trump's conjured monsters before I would support actual monsters being paid with my tax dollars sexually abusing children. The choice isn't even close.

But the fact is that the crisis at the southern border (and in detention facilities across the country) is one largely of Trump's invention. He didn't create the reasons for the mass migration toward the U.S., although he is exacerbating it by refusing to address climate change and threatening to withdraw critical support to Central America. But he did create the horrendous situation in concentration camps by fundamentally altering U.S. policy to require detentions, rather than letting people go with a court date in hand.

A change he justifies by asserting that immigrants don't show up for those court dates, which is a straight-up lie.

One of many lies he tells: There is no urgent crisis threatening the United States because of undocumented immigration — not an employment crisis, not a crime and violence crisis, not a health crisis. The opioid crisis is not attributable to migrant workers or asylum-seeking refugees. Terrorists are not entering the country over the southern border.

The administration's rationale for their obscene immigration policy continually shifts, but every new explanation is just as dishonest as the one before it.

This entire crisis has been build on a foundation of lies. And children are being tortured for those lies. Which is not a bug, but a feature. Because malice is the agenda.

This is intolerable. You know what to do: MAKE SOME NOISE.


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