Trump Administration Slammed Over 'Cruel' Treatment of Migrant Children, As Kids Describe Lack of Food, Water, Sanitation

The Trump administration has sparked outrage over the "cruel" treatment of migrant children being held under its custody as detained youths described being left to take care of each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation at one Texas border facility.

Accounts from a legal team that interviewed 60 kids at the facility near El Paso where young migrants are being held painted a shocking picture of the level of care children have been receiving at the center, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.

In one case, three girls ages 10 to 15 said they were asked to take care of a 2-year-old boy who "had wet his pants and had no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him," AP reported.

"A Border Patrol agent came in our room with a two-year-old boy and asked us, 'Who wants to take care of this little boy?' Another girl said she would take care of him, but she lost interest after a few hours and so I started taking care of him yesterday," one of the girls said in an interview with attorneys.

Among the children being held at the facility, as many as 15 had the flu, while another 10 were being quarantined.

Government rules dictate that children cannot be held by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Border Patrol for any longer than 72 hours before being transferred into the custody of the Health and Human Services department.

However, San Francisco psychoanalyst Gilbert Kliman, who evaluated roughly 50 children and parents seeking asylum, told AP that the trauma children suffer during that time could cause lasting damage.

"The care of children by children," he added, also "constitutes a betrayal of adult responsibility, governmental responsibility."

However, lawmakers and advocacy groups have slammed the Trump administration for allowing children to be left in a "traumatic and dangerous situation" for any amount of time under federal care.

"The crisis at our southern border is a total meltdown and a clear indication of a system failing to meet the basic humanitarian needs of children under CBP's custody and responsibility," said Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz in a statement sent to Newsweek.

"The fact that children do not have access to food, water, or sanitation is unacceptable, cruel, and goes against our American values," Ruiz said.

Meanwhile, Michael Bochenek, senior counsel on children's rights at Human Rights Watch, warned in a tweet that children were being left in a "dangerous situation" at the El Paso facility.

"Those facilities are anything but child-friendly," said Dr. Julie Linton, who co-chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant Health Special Interest Group agreed.

"That type of environment is not only unhealthy for children but also unsafe," she told AP.

Cage, migrant child, protest
People walk by a pop-up art installation depicting small children curled up underneath foil survival blankets in chain-link cages on June 12, 2019 in New York City. Representing migrant children in U.S. Border Patrol custody, the cages were placed in front of the offices of various news organizations and other highly trafficked areas in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Lawmakers and immigration advocates have condemned the Trump administration's treatment of migrant children held under federal custody. Spencer Platt/Getty