Written by incoming freshmen, Matthew Viana ’23
CLINT, Tex. – In 2013, border patrol in western Texas opened its doors to its new detention center. It is a secluded area covered by barbed wire fencing, cotton fields, and farmhouses that then lead to the central city’s road. A few miles out, there is a supermarket, India Tortilleria, and The Good News Apostolic Church. Due to its unique location, Clint residents were not aware of what was going on inside the center; many pick-up trucks and buses pull into the gates loaded with children who are detained four miles south of the border. Many men and women who work there state they are living a real-life nightmare as the conditions minors are in continue to worsen.
A former border patrol officer stated that,
“It gets to a point where [as a border patrol officer], [one] starts to [feel controlled] as if [one] was a robot.” The former border patrol officer stated that after he was ordered numerous times to remove beds to make more space in the holding cells, was “heartbreaking” to see toddlers as young as five-months-old sleeping on the cold bare floor. The conditions of this detention center are not only dangerously overcrowded but also unsanitary. An outbreak of chickenpox, shingles, and scabies occurred, and no immediate safety precautions were followed. This information is based on dozens of recent interviews for the New York Times and El Paso Times of veteran and current border patrol agents/ supervisors; lawmaker, layers, and aids who have visited the facility; and an immigrant father whose children were previously in the center. The border patrols efforts to continue making room for immigrants failed, and now many people who work there are deeply concerned about what is to come.
Republicans attempted to pass a $ 4.6 billion humanitarian aid package that would support border patrol agents, fund the wall, and help make more space in detention centers. Many Democrats and Republicans rejected the bill since it was also going to be used to fund other unapproved activities. Due to the lack of funding, the detention center has created a “flu cell” to quarantine those who have any easily transmittable diseases. Despite having to be in these inhumane conditions, the facilities spokesman said they are lucky if they even receive any juice and crackers. Babies are treated poorly since the agents cannot change their diapers, so they seek the help of older adults to do so. In an interview with immigrants, the officers reportedly said, “Who told you to come to America with your baby, anyway?”
President Donald Trump continued to deny all claims of the poor conditions and proceeded to state that if they are, “unhappy… just tell them not to come.” Trump also claims that border patrol agents are not hospital workers, and he assures that they are in better conditions than in their home countries. Mike Pence, Vice President, visited detention centers over the week of July 13th, 2019 and went to observe the claimed, “bad conditions,” immigrants are going through. Pence has called CNN, “dishonest,” since their reports of the immigrants are inaccurate to what he witnessed. When Mike asked the children if they are being treated well, they responded that everything was great and that there were no complaints at all.
Mike Pence went on to say the CBP cleans three times a day, they are provided three meals, and the facilities are air-conditioned. “Clean but crowded.” Pence also said that the Democrats are finally doing the right thing by passing a $ 4.5 billion humanitarian aid package that will, “resolve, “the issues at the border.
As immigrants continue to cross borders and enter the US the number of people being detained by ICE increases. The conditions of detention centers are continuing to worsen day by day. Overcrowded cells, no food, no clothes, no showers, and no outside contact are still a significant issue. Although the house has passed the bill, no action has been taken to ensure conditions are better for immigrants who are detained in these centers. Government officials are saying otherwise that immigrants have never been treated as well as before. Dohan H. Aguirre, Clint, Texas’s mayor, says he feels empathy for the workers as they are only doing their jobs as federal agents. He also expressed his feelings for the migrants that are being detained and says that he will attempt to help make the situation at the border better. Overall, this has been a significant issue that both parties are attempting to fix as soon as possible so that the immigrants can be treated equally and no longer be in these “dangerous” conditions as reports claim.