President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of children and their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is unclear how and if that will change the current living conditions of those children currently in the facilities throughout Texas. Activists who have visited these places describe the treatment of immigrant children as both neglectful and criminal action.
Take Michelle Brané, an activist with the Women’s Refugee Commission. Brané explains the role of the Commission, saying, “We’re the people who have access to go into the facilities, who understand what they’re required to do by law, what the child welfare protocols should be.”
Recently, Brané visited an immigration processing center in Texas called, Ursula. It didn’t take long for her to see that legal standards were not being adhered to.
When she asked to see a 4 year old girl, an agent simply told her that she could not be found. In fact, the only person who could locate the child was a 16 year old detainee. Not only did this teen know the child’s whereabouts, but she had also been caring for the child exclusively.
The young teen had assumed the role of her mother, caring for her and even changing her diapers. And Brané reported that no agent or official had ever stepped in.
This is only one of the many scenarios Brané witnessed in her visit to Ursula, and she has described other scenarios as “child neglect. Any normal circumstance of that, that would be criminal action.”