People Trying To Donate Diapers And Toys For Detained Kids Are Being Turned Away

by Julie Scagell
Rodin Eckenroth/Getty

Boxes of diapers and wipes are being left on the doorstep at overcrowded migrant detention centers

There are multiple news stories coming out every single day about the horrifying conditions at Border Patrol facilities where thousands of children are being held — each one more heartbreaking than the next. People are rushing to help, bringing down diapers and soap, but instead of being welcomed they are being turned away and told no donations will be accepted.

According to The Texas Tribune, multiple groups of people jumped into cars and went to an El Paso Target, stocked up on items like diapers, wipes, soaps, and toys for the kids after hearing about the overcrowding and lack of basic hygiene products available for the hundreds being held at detention centers. But when they drove down to the Clint Border Patrol facility to donate goods no one would help them.

The lobby was closed and the few Border Patrol agents they did see ignored their pleas to help. “A good friend of mine is an immigration attorney, and he warned us that we were going to get rejected,” one of the individuals said. “We were aware of that, but it’s just the idea of doing something as opposed to passively allowing this to occur. Even if we get rejected at least we made the effort.”

Ultimately, the group decided to repack the items and leave, seeing other donations left outside the facility on their way out with a note, “I heard y’all need soap + toothpaste for kids.”

Government law prohibits children to be held by the Border Patrol for longer than 72 hours before they are transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services, but for many, those 72 hours have turned into almost a month, and because these facilities are not equipped to handle the overflow of individuals, conditions are atrocious.

Recent reports of 250 kids being kept at a Border Patrol station in Texas, many not having washed in weeks and toddlers walking around covered in mucus and soiled clothes are the norm. Doctors and immigration attorneys who’ve seen firsthand the devastating conditions call them “torture facilities,” saying they have “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”

The dire situation has reached a breaking point, so why wouldn’t they be taking every donation possible to help these kids? It’s unclear and we will likely never know the reason, but the message has been received loud and clear: no donations will be accepted at any Border Patrol facility. “These kids are being underserved, and they’re not getting what they need,” said Democratic state Rep. Terry Canales, whose district neighbors McAllen. “The whole situation is disgusting, but I’m always hopeful that the better part of us as human beings will shine through. Those children feel like the world has given up on them, and we have to fight for them.”