News

Drinking Toilet Water, Widespread Abuse: Report Details ‘Torture’ For Child Detainees

Over the course of four days in June, Keylin says, U.S. Border Patrol guards would kick her body to keep her awake throughout the night.

The 16-year-old, whose last name was redacted from court documents, told a lawyer that she would lie in fear on the cement floor of the Border Patrol station in Texas, surrounded by chain-link fence. She was separated from her mother, who had been held at gunpoint three times in Honduras, after they crossed the U.S. border.

According to a court filing, Keylin says the female guards also made girls “strip naked” in front of them before taking a shower, so they could leer at their bodies (her mother, Daise, corroborated her daughter’s account in a statement she gave to a lawyer). She adds that guards called the group of migrants “filthy” and “made fun of us.”

Keylin barely ate because she says the food was frozen, and she wasn’t given a toothbrush or toothpaste. Though she says the cells were so cold that she shivered and developed pain in her leg, the teen kept quiet. The guards said that anyone with an injury would be detained longer, and she couldn’t take that chance.  

“I was very frightened and depressed the entire time,” Keylin told a lawyer on June 29, after she had been transferred to a family detention center and reunited with her mother. “I am still depressed. I also have nightmares and a lot of anxiety because of the separation.” At the time of their June 29 declaration, there was no plan for Keylin and her mother’s release.

HuffPost learned that the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law filed a report in a federal court in Los Angeles with more than 200 accounts from migrant children and their parents, detailing the horrific conditions they face in Border Patrol stations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities and detention centers.

The allegations, which HuffPost reviewed, include physical and verbal assault, untenable sleeping conditions and unsanitary drinking water. 

 “The treatment of these children amounts to torture,” Schey told HuffPost, adding that the situation has become worse under the Trump administration. “We see a policy of enforced hunger, enforced dehydration and enforced sleeplessness coupled with routine insults and physical assaults.”

ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) did not return HuffPost’s requests for comment.