At the border station in Texas that has become the center of debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, a chaotic shuffle of migrant children continued Tuesday as more than 100 were moved back into a facility that days earlier had been emptied in the midst of criticism that young detainees there were hungry, crying and unwashed.
The transfer came just days after 249 children originally housed at the station in Clint, Texas, had been moved to other facilities to relieve overcrowding. The continuing movement of children and confusion over housing of the Border Patrol’s youngest detainees pointed to a disorganized situation along the southern border and an agency struggling to maintain minimal humanitarian standards amid an unprecedented influx of migrant families.
“We’ve dipped far below the standard of care into the realms of just utter darkness,” said state Rep. Terry Canales of Texas, a Democrat who contacted Border Patrol officials to ask what he and his staff could do to help.
From across the country, donations of diapers and other supplies began flowing in — though Customs and Border Protection agents said they could not accept outside supplies and initially refused the growing stockpile. More than a dozen people drove into South Texas from as far away as the West Coast to deliver aid and launch protests.
The Clint facility houses only a fraction of the tens of thousands of migrants who have been crossing the border each month. But the lawyers’ observations of the conditions there offered a rare view into a system that has been deteriorating for the most part out of sight of the public.
Trump refused to take responsibility for the conditions facing migrant children and families at border facilities. “You know, they were built by President Obama; they are really not designed so much for children,” Trump said Tuesday.
A CBP spokesman said the agency was able to return 100 children to Clint because the previous overcrowding had been alleviated, but he also said no additional resources were being provided to them. He disputed the accounts of the lawyers, who after a court-ordered visit to the facility earlier this month said they had observed children who had not been allowed to shower in nearly a month and were so hungry that it had been hard for them to sleep through the night.