'Sleepless, sick, and terrified': Heartbreaking testimony from immigrant children describe their experiences in border facilities

Business Insider | 6/17/2018 | Michelle Mark, INSIDER
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Immigrant children described in first-hand accounts being hungry, abused, and fearful at border facilities.

The testimonies are part of a long-running lawsuit over the way the government treats detained immigrant children.

Justice - Department - Conditions - Facilities - Government

The Justice Department has defended conditions in the facilities, pointing to a recent government report declaring the conditions meet the proper standards.

A 13-year-old girl named Josselin remembers being so hungry it was "painful."

Dixiana - Awake - Officer - Bruise

10-year-old Dixiana recalled being kicked awake by an officer. She said it hurt, though it didn't leave a bruise.

Keylin, 16, alleged that she and other girls were lined up, told to strip naked before female guards, then leered at before their showers.

Attorneys - Declarations - Hundreds - Parents - Children

Attorneys took declarations from hundreds of immigrant parents and children in recent months, as part of a long-running lawsuit, and documented dozens of allegations of deplorable and unhygienic conditions.

Many of the immigrants offered up strikingly similar descriptions of inedible food, undrinkable water, few opportunities to shower or clean themselves, overcrowding, freezing temperatures, and cruel or even abusive guards.

Court - Filing - Allegations - Government - Housing

The court filing labeled the allegations "shocking and atrocious," chastising the government for housing children in such conditions.

"It amounts to a picture not just of forcibly separating thousands of children from their parents, but on a much broader level of a program of forced hunger, forced thirst, forced sleep deprivation, coupled with routine insults, threats, and physical assault, that leave class member children crying, trembling, hungry, thirsty, sleepless, sick, and terrified," Peter Schey, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, wrote.

Health - Experts - Class - Members - Terror

"Mental health experts agree that many class members will never fully recover from the terror and humiliation they experienced in [government] custody," he added.

'The way I have been treated makes me feel like I don't matter, like I am trash'

Children - Conditions - Parents

The children, in particular, struggled to cope with the conditions, especially absent their parents.

"I didn't cry the first day when...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Business Insider
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