As Migrant Kids Detail Horrid Conditions at The Border, Texas Lawmaker Files Bill to Allow Donations to Detention Centers

The government agencies responsible for migrant children would be able to accept donations for the public if a proposal filed on Friday by U.S. Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) passes into law.

The proposal comes amid reports of dire conditions at border detention centers, with one Buzzfeed article Thursday quoting some children who are, by all appearances, living in squalid conditions at the centers.

According to the article, one 12-year-old boy said: "I'm hungry here at Clint [detention center] all the time. I'm so hungry that I have woken up in the middle of the night with hunger. Sometimes I wake up from hunger at 4 a.m., sometimes at other hours. I'm too scared to ask the officials here for any more food, even though there is not enough food here for me."

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old girl said there was no way to wash her baby's soiled clothing.

"Three days ago my baby soiled his clothes. I had no place to wash the clothes so I could not put them back on my baby because when he went to the bathroom his poop came out of his diaper and all over his clothing. Since then, my baby of only three months has only been wearing a small little jacket made of t-shirt material."

Attorneys reportedly collected the children's statements at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas. Their visit apparently pertained to a 1997 court settlement agreement that specified how long and under what conditions immigrant kids can be detained.

The attorneys are asking a judge to order inspections of Border Patrol facilities in El Paso, Texas, and the Rio Grande Valley, according to Buzzfeed.

Roy is concurrently trying to do his part to ameliorate the facilities.

Thanks to the @TexasTribune’s reporting, and members of @SATXIndivisible & others bringing awareness to this issue, I filed a bill today that would allow people to provide charity to migrant families and children at CBP facilities.

— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) June 28, 2019

"We want to make a statement that says, 'If people need help, we ought to be able to help them.' It's pretty straightforward," he said Friday. "When there are human beings in our custody, they obviously ought to be cared for."

Multiple news outlets reported this week that a group that visited a Clint facility with donated supplies was turned away twice. One of the group members apparently said that Border Patrol agents ignored them.

The agents rejected the donations because of the Antideficiency Act, Theresa Brown, a former policy adviser for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told The Texas Tribune. Under the act, the government can't spend any money or accept donations that Congress has not expressly approved.

"While Congress was dragging its feet, hard-working Americans were trying to give law enforcement goods to help care for migrant children," Roy said in a press release on Friday. "The American people are the most charitable on earth. When Americans want to donate goods — diapers, toys, toothbrushes, or anything else — they should be allowed to do so."

migrant children protest
Protesters from Texas and California rally in El Paso, Texas against the continued separation of migrant children from their families, as well as against the conditions migrant children are being held in at U.S. detention facilities on June 25, 2019. Christ Chavez