'I'm Hungry Here All The Time': Migrant Kids Share Heartbreaking Testimonies

by Cassandra Stone
John Moore/Getty

Lawyers are using the testimonies of migrant minors in hopes of gaining access to detention centers

Last week, new reports surfaced describing the deplorable, inhumane conditions at a Border Patrol detention center in Clint, Texas. Though the government claims they have “moved” the children since the report came to light, they haven’t given any further details on their whereabouts. Now lawyers are using the firsthand testimonies of migrant minors in hopes of gaining access to Border Patrol facilities.

Doctors have compared the conditions of the detention centers to “torture,” while many others are calling these centers what they truly resemble: concentration camps. Because of the new report, an emergency motion was filed this week by immigration lawyers who are seeking immediate access and inspections of the Clint site as well as 20 other facilities.

The lawyers involved are claiming that Border Patrol officials are forcing children to take care of strangers’ babies and that all the children are denied access to basic hygiene like showering and brushing their teeth, as well as nutrition and food.

The legal team says that 350 children are being warehoused in an extremely overcrowded adult Border Patrol facility in Clint right now. Which is why they’ve been gathering firsthand accounts given by the minors being imprisoned — they hope it helps their case and that a judge will grant them access to these facilities.

They want immediate inspections of all U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas’ Rio Grande and El Paso sectors, as well as access granted to independent medical professionals and a case management team to help expedite the processing of the children.

“The children, including infants and expectant mothers, are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived,” their report states. “Because the facilities deny basic hygiene to the children, the flu is spreading among detained class members, who also are not receiving essential medical assessments or prompt medical treatment.”

Be warned, the testimonies are heartbreaking. The conditions described by the children imprisoned inside are utterly horrific.

From a 12-year-old boy:

“I’m hungry here at Clint all the time. I’m so hungry that I have woken up in the middle of the night with hunger….I’m too scared to ask the officials here for any more food.”

From a 17-year-old mother of an infant:

“Three days ago my baby soiled his clothes. I had no place to wash the clothes so I could not put them back on my baby because when he went to the bathroom his poop came out of his diaper and all over his clothing. Since then, my baby of only three months has only been wearing a small little jacket made of t-shirt material. I have nothing else for my son to wear…. I have been told they do not have any clothes here at this place. I just want my baby to be warm enough. I am having to make sure I carry my baby super close to me to keep his little body warm.”

From an 18-year-old mother of an infant:

“My baby got wet and I had to take his pants off two days ago and I have not been able to get any pants for him.”

From a 16-year-old boy:

“They told us we could only have one layer of clothing, and they threw the rest away in the garbage.”

From a 15-year-old girl:

“I started taking care of (a 5-year-old girl) in the Ice Box after they separated her from her father. I did not know either of them before that. She was very upset. The workers did nothing to try to comfort her. I tried to comfort her and she has been with me ever since. (The baby) sleeps on a mat with me on the concrete floor. We spend all day every day in that room. There are no activities, only crying.”

Our country’s immigration and asylum policies are criminal. Animal shelters in this country are cleaner, safer, and more humane than the conditions described here by human children. All we can do is continue to hold our representatives accountable and keep donating to organizations like RAICES Texas. People will not stop seeking refuge and asylum from their home countries — which means families and children will continue to suffer and die at the hands of the Trump administration.