Reprinted from a National Nurses United press release on June 26, 2019. It is unattributed.
Following additional recent reports of unsanitary, dangerous, and brutal conditions threatening the health and well-being of children and asylum seekers at US federal border detention facilities, the registered nurses of National Nurses United (NNU) again condemn this inhumane and illegal treatment of Central American migrants, calling for an immediate end to holding them in federal custody and for swift reunification with family members.
“As nurses we are appalled and deeply disturbed by the latest media reports,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, and executive director of NNU. “It is unconscionable and flat-out unacceptable that this administration is imprisoning thousands of children without even meeting their basic needs of adequate shelter and temperature, food, water, clothing, bedding, hygiene, medical care, and caring, adult supervision. This is abuse and a violation of their human rights. This must end now.” These conditions, and holding children longer than 72 hours in detention, appear to violate the terms of the 1993 federal Flores class action lawsuit settlement.
This week’s reports by attorneys from just one facility in Clint, Texas exposed that young children are being forced to care for toddlers, that they don’t have enough to eat and drink, that they often sleep on concrete floors in freezing cages with the lights on 24 hours a day, and that the facility is not maintaining sanitary conditions since the minors are rarely allowed to shower, bathe, or wash. As a result, the majority of children are suffering from respiratory illnesses and active lice and flu outbreaks. As of now, six migrant children have died in federal custody. …