The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chairman Jamie Raskin announced Monday that they will investigate the deaths of migrant children and adults who were held in U.S. detention centers.
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Given that a recent report warned of the existence of a "pattern of negligence and abuse that caused serious damage and the death of immigrants" in these centers, Democratic lawmakers requested detailed information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL).
Several minor migrants have died while in the custody of the Donald Trump administration. In a recent case, a 16-year-old boy died of influenza in a cell in which he was abandoned "for hours without medical treatment despite prolonged symptoms of severe suffering."
According to lawmakers, "this death is not an isolated incident: at least seven children have died in government custody since 2018, after almost a decade without such deaths."
"The lack of treatment seems to be a flagrant violation of Border Patrol detention standards and raises serious questions about whether the Department of Homeland Security is not treating children and adults with the human principles of dignity and compassion," Maloney said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, the situation is not much better for tens of thousands of Central American migrants who were returned from the U.S. to Mexico as a result of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
They face a bleak Christmas in limbo in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, two Mexican border cities where gangs and drug cartels often assault or kidnap migrants.
"I fled my country with my baby. The only place I want to be is the U.S. I never thought that I would be returned here to Juarez," Guatemalan asylum seeker Maria Chan Ixcamparij said and added that the only thing she hopes is for U.S. authorities to know her asylum application in March 2020.
Some migrants left their countries without their children and in the hope of being able to send money to get their loved ones out of poverty. One of them is Ana Reynoso, who left her son in Guatemala.
"I never thought that I would spend Christmas and New Year here. My dream was to be there in the U.S. with my husband. But I wasn't allowed to cross," Reynoso said and commented that she expects her asylum application to be processed on May 5, 2020.