Child-advocacy groups call for humane treatment at Texas’ migrant detention facilities

Migrant Centers

In this July 9, 2019, photo, staff escort immigrants to class at the U.S. government’s newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Following breakfast, children play soccer and then have classes in trailers. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

EL PASO ⁠— In a letter to lawmakers, dozens of child-advocacy groups from Texas expressed a “deep concern” over conditions at migrant detention facilities.

Thirty-seven organizations called for the humane treatment of children and families detained in Texas. They encouraged every Texan in Congress and the Legislature to “support additional measures to ensure that all children and parents who are now in the care of the federal government, no matter their country of origin, receive compassionate, humane, and fair treatment.”

The organizations highlighted first-hand accounts by elected officials, lawyers, doctors, and federal auditors who recently toured the facilities. Advocates said they were concerned about the longterm trauma children could experience in detention facilities, including those separated from their parents.

“Furthermore,” the letter reads, “early childhood trauma undermines a child’s healthy brain development and ability to form healthy attachments, resulting in lifelong, negative consequences, such as chronic physical and/or mental illness and less likelihood of succeeding in school or becoming productive workers.”

In a news release, Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children, urged elected officials from across the political spectrum to work together to improve conditions for migrants.

“Every child in our state, no matter where she was born or how she got here, should be treated with the kind of care and compassion that children deserve,” Rubin said.

The organizations sent the letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, the 36 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, and the 181 members of the Texas Legislature.

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