US border patrols took a one-month-old baby from its parents as they crossed from Mexico and held it for 16 days, court filing reveals
- Many children are being detained for long periods at US-Mexico border
- Children should not be separated from their parents for more than three days
- Democrat lawmakers have appealed to Government to explain their actions
A one-month old baby was separated for 16 days from its parents at the US-Mexico border, a new court filing has revealed.
US border patrols have detained more than 60 children at the border for more than three days in the past two months.
More than a dozen children under the age of five have been held for more than five days as the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continue to clamp down on migrants from Central America.
US border patrols have detained more than 60 children at the border for more than three days in the past two months. Pictured: two young girls are held at a US Customs and Border Protection center
The information was contained in a new federal court filing, prompting Democratic lawmakers to urgently appeal for more information.
In the letter seen by CNN, the lawmakers outline a number of the distressing stories of children being separated from their families.
A 15-year-old boy from EL Salvador who was held at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in Texas said he had to sleep sitting up because there were too many people in the room.
He was held there for three days in the Rio Grande Valley station, and met eight other boys detained with him who had been held for four days, he said.
The letter was penned by Reps. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Jerry Nadler of New York, and Zoe Lofgren of California and others.
A 15-year-old boy from EL Salvador who was held at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in Texas (pictured) said he had to sleep sitting up
They wrote to Chad Wolf, acting Homeland Security Chief, on Tuesday.
They wrote: ‘In the last two months alone, CBP has detained 14 children under the age of five for longer than five days, including a one-month-old baby who was detained for over 16 days in September 2020.’
The filing also revealed that an eight-year-old boy from Guatemala was detained while his mother was transferred elsewhere to an unknown location.
He told his attorney: ‘My mom is somewhere else. I think she is in the hospital because her back hurts. I have not been able to talk to her because she is sick. They told me that I cannot leave until she gets here.’
The Democrat lawmakers wrote to Chad Wolf (pictured), acting Homeland Security Chief, on Tuesday
The letter from the Democrats is based on government data which had been provided to lawyers in the Flores settlement case.
It states that the government is required to release children from detention centers without unnecessary delay.
Holding children for a period longer than three days is a violation of the agreement, unless there is a valid reason.
Arrests have declined this year and lawmakers are unsure why there has been an increased time in detention centers in recent months.
Facilities are not intended to be used for extended detentions but are meant to quickly process migrants
CBP said they do not comment on pending litigation, but the lawyers said the government has refused to disclose the reason why children are being detained for long periods.
Facilities are not intended to be used for extended detentions but are meant to quickly process migrants, meaning they are often badly equipped to care for children staying for long periods.
Attorney Denise A. Rosales visited Weslaco and found unaccompanied children with little social distancing being enforced.
Some children even said they had been sharing a cell with up to 20 others.