Doctor compares conditions at facilities for detained migrant children to 'torture'

Doctor compares conditions at facilities for detained migrant children to 'torture'
© Getty Images

A physician who was called to visit a U.S. border facility in McAllen, Texas, last week after five infants held there were placed into neonatal intensive care due to a flu outbreak has reportedly compared conditions at the facilities to “torture.”

ABC News reported Tuesday citing details from a medical declaration by Dolly Lucio Sevier that minors at the McAllen facility were forced to endure “extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food.”

ADVERTISEMENT

"The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities," Lucio Sevier, who assessed nearly 40 minors at the facility – Customs and Border Protection’s largest detention site in the nation – wrote in the declaration, according to ABC.

In a follow-up interview with the network, Lucio Sevier said some minors told her that they were denied access to wash their hands while in custody at the facility, which she described as “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.”   

She also said some young mothers were also denied being able to wash their kids’ bottles. 

"It just felt, you know, lawless," she told the outlet. "I mean, imagine your own children there. I can't imagine my child being there and not being broken." 

"To deny parents the ability to wash their infant's bottles is unconscionable and could be considered intentional mental and emotional abuse," Lucio Sevier also wrote in her medical declaration, according to the news agency.

Last week, Toby Gialluca, one of the immigration attorneys who visited the McAllen facility, said he found a number of children who were suffering from fevers, diarrhea and vomiting.

He also said he saw one toddler’s eyes roll to the back of her head during the visit and added that she was “completely unresponsive.”

The report comes days after a Justice Department lawyer came under fire after arguing at a hearing that a toothbrush and soap were not necessarily required to fulfill sanitary conditions for detained migrant children laid out in a years-old agreement regarding standards for the detention of migrant children.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE has made cracking down on illegal immigration a key focus of his administration as he seeks reelection in 2020.

Last week, Trump threatened that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would soon begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, a move that would have resulted in the deportations of an estimated up to 2,000 immigrant families.

However, the president later announced on Saturday that he would temporarily delay the ICE operation for two weeks, pending negotiations with Congress on an immigration agreement.