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  • Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in El Paso, Texas, U.S. March 27, 2019.

    Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in El Paso, Texas, U.S. March 27, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 March 2019

Migrants are being held by U.S. border agents in inhumane and degrading conditions under a bridge in El Paso, in Texas, leading to accusations that the U.S. government is holding people in "concentration camps."
 

In El Paso, hundreds of migrants are being held by border agents in a fenced in encampment in undignified conditions.

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In an interview with Buzzfeed media, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson told: "the tent that is set up underneath the Paso Del Norte port of entry and adjacent to the Border Patrol's Processing Facility is a transitional shelter." "Due to the large volume of apprehensions within the El Paso Station's Area of Responsibility, the agency has undertaken additional measures to facilitate processing," said the CBP.

Reporters from The Washington Post published pictures of crowds of migrants behind fencing. 

Writer Lauren Hough reacted to the publication and denounced these conditions through her Twitter account: "This is a fucking concentration camp. We are running concentration camps."

The Trump administration has implemented successive refugee bans that are shutting the door on refugees and putting into danger the life of vulnerable populations such as children. The degrading conditions migrants are being held in El Paso is not respecting the world basic principles about how refugees should be treated. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5) states that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

According to Amnesty International, the U.S. has not been living up to this international commitment. Some people seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border are turned away or deported without having their claims heard in an immigration court and they are forced to return to countries where they may be tortured, imprisoned, or even killed. Others persons are sometimes held in detention without easy access to attorneys or charged with crimes for entering the country irregularly to ask for asylum. According to the 1951 Convention about Refugees, refugees have the right to not be punished for illegally entering countries that signed on to the treaty. 

Two Guatemalan children died in late 2018 in the United States after being detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

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