Independent pediatrician to review conditions for migrant children at border

Independent pediatrician to review conditions for migrant children at border
© CBS News

The Trump administration has reportedly agreed to let a child health specialist launch an independent review of conditions for migrant children detained at border facilities.

CNN reports that Paul Wise, a professor of pediatrics and health policy at Stanford University, will be able to conduct an inspection of U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and assess the health conditions for detained children.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California authorized his appointment on Monday, CNN reported.

After touring border detention centers last year, Wise described how children were kept in a "kind of cage-like" processing center. He told a university publication that health providers' "very short-term contributions are no substitute for a high-quality clinical infrastructure."

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“The frontline health providers who work in the border area clinics are often overwhelmed by the challenge,” Wise told the publication. “In some measure, they have to rely on volunteers coming from around the United States.”

He added, “One major concern was that the infrastructure of health care for children and their families coming through the asylum process is woefully inadequate.”

Once in detention, migrants are put in a “freezing cold” facility called the “ice box,” Wise said. Then, he recalled, they’re moved to a different processing center that is “kind of cage-like” and “set up more like a jail processing center.”

The independent investigation comes as the Trump administration faces heat for its hard-line immigration policies as well as reports of unsanitary conditions and a lack of resources at certain migrant detention facilities.

Conditions for migrant children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border have been the focus of scrutiny for months, with outside pediatricians voicing concerns based on accounts provided by social workers and others about the facilities.

Four children have died after being released from U.S. custody since late last year, drawing attention to the handling and care for migrants who have been apprehended.

The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General released a report last week that reported "dangerous overcrowding" and "prolonged detention of children and adults" at border facilities in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

Congress passed a $4.6 billion emergency border funding bill last month that aims to provide humanitarian aid and address the influx of migrants.