Biden admin sued over poor treatment of migrant children at Texas detention facilities

A surprising lawsuit has just been filed against President Joe Biden’s administration, one that could have serious consequences regarding the way they’ve handled the immigration crisis.

The Daily Mail reports that the lawsuit was filed against the Biden administration by attorneys representing the migrant children who are being held at federal detention facilities in Texas, arguing that the children are subject to deplorable conditions. 

Background

Undoubtedly, one of the most impactful problems that America has faced under the Biden administration is the immigration crisis at the southern U.S. border.

Part of that crisis is the shockingly large number of migrant children who have illegally crossed the border and are now being held by the federal government. Reports indicate that, as of this week, around 16,500 migrant children are under the care of the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The lawsuit focuses its attention on the HHS’s emergency intake sites (EISs) at Fort Bliss Army base and the Pecos facility, both located in Texas.

The Pecos facility was first opened on Apr. 6 of this year and it holds migrant children for, on average, 24 days. The Fort Bliss detention facility holds migrant children for about 14 days. Both sites have been operating well beyond their capacity since the crisis began.

The lawsuit

The attorneys representing the migrant children allege that HHS violated the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement. The document is a set of rules for the government to follow when it has migrant children in its custody.

In the lawsuit, the attorneys state that “minimal standards and inadequate oversight at EISs has exposed thousands of children to unacceptable conditions that threaten their safety and well-being.” The attorneys single out Fort Bliss and Pecos for having “exposed children to shockingly deplorable conditions.”

Providing some substance for that claim, the attorneys write that in Pecos, children are allowed “no religious services, few daily activities, and what little outdoor recreation they do have takes place in unshaded areas where temperatures sometimes reach over 110 degrees.”

Hunger and raw chicken?

According to Daily Mail, at Fort Bliss, the attorneys claim that “migrant children sleep in large, open areas alongside hundreds of other kids, all of whom have complained of hunger, having limited access to medical care, and being served raw chicken.”

At this point, it’s still unclear exactly what the attorneys for the migrant children are seeking as a remedy but at least part of their request appears to be for HHS to provide the migrant children with much better living conditions.

HHS leadership has not commented directly upon the case. However, it has stated that it takes its “responsibility to provide safe, appropriate care for unaccompanied migrant children very seriously.” Following up on the statement, the agency also provided examples of how it does that.

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