A half-dozen immigrant teenagers have given sworn statements alleging mistreatment and abuse at the hands of staff members at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center near Staunton, Virginia.
The Associated Press reports that the teens, most of whom were caught crossing the Southern American border unaccompanied, say they were beaten while handcuffed, locked in solitary confinement for extended periods, and regularly forced to sleep naked inside cold concrete cells.
“Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me,” one Honduran teen said in a sworn statement. “Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move… They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.”
In addition to the sworn testimony of the teenagers, a former child-development specialist who worked at the detention center tells the AP that she personally witnessed children with bruises and broken bones — and she said they were a direct result of mistreatment by the center’s guards.
The Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center has formally denied all allegations of physically abusing the young detainees.
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Trump Administration Lied About Number of Kids It Separated at the Border – Maybe by the Thousands: Report
The Trump administration appears to have lied about the number of migrant children it had separated at the border, despite months of focus on the atrocity by news organizations and activists around the world.
According to a Thursday report by The Intercept, the Trump administration “carried out thousands more family separations than previously acknowledged.” The government’s own data, the reporters say, “indicates that the campaign was far more expansive — and far more destructive — than previously acknowledged.”
Americans are used to hearing that about 2500 children were separated from their parents. That number is substantially larger.
From April 19, 2018 to August 15, 2018 – just under four months – U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers say 6022 “family units,” which CBP refuses to define, were separated. A family unit could be one person in a family, or several members of a family, or an entire family. CBP will not say, The Intercept reports.
But it’s even worse.
“Using available statistics from the last two years,” Amnesty International also “reports that in 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration appears to have separated approximately 8,000 ‘family units’ along the border. Even if half of the people referred to in that figure were parents, the remaining 4,000 children would dwarf the total number of kids commonly reported to have been impacted by the “zero tolerance” campaign — that total tends to hover between 2,500 to 3,000.”
But the worst can be suspected.
“The closest Amnesty [International] could get to a clarification on the ‘family unit’ question,” the reports author sad, “was a claim from CBP that the 6,022 figure ‘appeared’ to refer to individuals.”
4000 is about 60 percent more than the 2500 generally reported. 6022 is far more than twice what Americans were told. 8000 is close to triple.
Alt-right hero Stephen Miller, a Senior Advisor to the President and the person responsible for crafting the child separation policy, early on said it was a “simple decision” to implement ripping children, some as young as two, apart from their parents.
Trump Administration’s Latest Attack on Migrant Children Nationwide Will Rip Your Heart Out
Hundreds of Migrant Children Are Being Ripped From Foster Homes and Bussed Overnight to Texas Tent Cities – With Almost No Notice – Every Week
The Trump administration is currently housing more than five times the number of migrant children than it was just one year ago. And it is scrambling to make room for more.
The New York Times reports that hundreds of migrant children who have been placed in foster homes or shelters across the country are being ripped from their new homes and shipped to tent cities in Texas. Tent cities that sound more like concentration camps than, as one Fox News anchor earlier this year called them, “summer camps.”
To make matters worse for the already psychologically scarred children, most of whom don’t know where their parents are and have not spoken with them for months, is they are being given at most a few hours notice that they are about to be “deported” to a new home – that’s more like a prison.
And federal officials are doing all this under cover of darkness, not allowing the children to say goodbye to any new friends or support systems they may have been able to create.
“In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas,” The New York Times reports.
Advocates are warning “that moving children to the tent city without providing enough time to prepare them emotionally or to say goodbye to friends could compound trauma that many are already struggling with.”
The Tent Cities Are Unregulated
Upon arrival to the tent cities – for which taxpayers spend $750 per night per child – the migrant children receive no schooling and have limited access to any legal representation.
“Hundreds of children are being shipped from shelters to West Texas each week, totaling more than 1,600 so far.”
Currently, the federal government is housing over 13,000 migrant children.
HHS Is Preparing to House 25,000 Migrant Kids – and Is Stealing Money from an HIV/AIDS Program to Pay for It
The Dept. of Health and Human Services is tasked with housing all the migrant children separated from their undocumented parents as part of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. That policy may have permanently separated families – it’s been revealed there was never any plan to reunite the children with their parents and siblings, and now the feds are scrambling under court orders.
While the Health and Human Services Dept., headed by Secretary Alex Azar – a former big pharmaceuticals executive – showed exactly zero planning after Trump implemented his zero tolerance policy, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of HHS, has acted on a disturbing premise, and shown exactly where its priorities lie.
In what Slate is describing as a “budgeting exercise,” Secretary Azar’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is planning for a surge in migrant children being separated from their parents. The ORR has a plan to house 25,400 migrant children by the end of the year. And it is paying for the program by gutting another: The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, according to internal Office of Refugee Resettlement documents.
“The documents,” Slate reports, “indicate that HHS plans to pay for child separation by reallocating money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which, according to its website, ‘provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured.’ Per the documents, the process of transferring those HIV/AIDS funds has already begun.”
HHS will also ask Congress for additional funds, and “plans to reallocate $79 million from programs for refugee resettlement, a move that could imperil social services, medical assistance, and English language instructions for refugees in the U.S., as well as programs for torture survivors.”
ORR says it will need $1.3 billion more to house migrant children, to cover the last three months of the year – that’s the entire amount allocated for all of 2018.
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