Inside an immigration detention center that houses mothers and children

DILLEY, Texas — U.S. officials are still trying to reunite as many as 386 children who were separated from their parents at the border under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Their parents have been deported, but officials say they have been able to reach most of them.

Officials, meanwhile, are investigating the death of a child recently released from the nation’s largest immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas.

CBS News has confirmed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is actively investigating the death of a migrant child shortly after her release from the south Texas family residential center in Dilley.

Attorneys for the child’s mother cite “neglect and unsanitary conditions” as possible factors. 

CBS News was given a rare look inside the detention center that only houses mothers and children.

Right now, more than 1,500 are staying here, but the facility has room for up to 2,400.  As soon as you get past the security gates, you see dozens of strollers parked outside the buildings.

“Our place is very sterile,” said ICE field director Daniel Bible. “We have people on site daily that go through daily to make sure that sanitary conditions are kept.”

Dilley is just one of several immigrant detention facilities under fire over severe allegations of abuse and mistreatment of migrant children.  

A report by ProPublica revealed over the last 5 years, police responded to at least 125 calls reporting sex offenses at shelters that primarily serve immigrant children.    

In a lawsuit filed against the Shiloh facility south of Houston, several immigrants minors describe being forced to take prescription drugs without parental consent.

Levian Pacheco, a former Health and Human Services (HHS) shelter employee in Mesa, Arizona is accused of sexually assaulting eight teenage boys.

HHS says that any allegation of abuse or neglect is taken seriously.

Katy Murdza is a legal advocate with the Dilley pro-bono Advocacy Project, which works closely with families detained in Dilley. Murdza says reporting any type of issues regarding access to medical care isn’t easy.

“The moms keep taking them to the medical facility and they keep being told, ‘Oh that’s normal for a kid not to eat for a week,’ or just giving them, telling them to drink more water which is rumored to be contaminated or just giving them vapor rub,” Murdza said.

For these immigrant advocacy groups, the focus remains on the treatment while in custody.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: National, US & World News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *