Flashback: ACLU obtains documents showing widespread abuse of child immigrants – during Obama years

by WorldTribune Staff, June 24, 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on May 22 issued a press release saying it had obtained documents showing that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the Obama administration had engaged in “pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained.”

Children sleep under mylar blankets at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in 2014.

The ACLU said its report was based on over 30,000 pages of documents dated between 2009 and 2014 that were obtained in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The ACLU said the documents revealed “numerous cases involving federal officials’ verbal, physical and sexual abuse of migrant children; the denial of clean drinking water and adequate food; failure to provide necessary medical care; detention in freezing, unsanitary facilities; and other violations of federal law and policy and international law.”

The documents “provide evidence that U.S. officials were aware of these abuses as they occurred, but failed to properly investigate, much less to remedy, these abuses,” the ACLU said.

The ACLU said the documents detail allegations that CBP officials:

  • Punched a child’s head three times.
  • Kicked a child in the ribs.
  • Used a stun gun on a boy, causing him to fall to the ground, shaking, with his eyes rolling back in his head.
  • Ran over a 17-year-old with a patrol vehicle and then punched him several times.
  • Denied a pregnant minor medical attention when she reported pain, which preceded a stillbirth.
  • Subjected a 16-year-old girl to a search in which they “forcefully spread her legs and touched her private parts so hard that she screamed.”

CBP responded by saying the ACLU report “equates allegations with fact, flatly ignores a number of improvements made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as oversight conducted by outside, independent agencies, including the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties over the last decade. CBP takes seriously all allegations of misconduct, but without new specifics is unable to check to commence reasonable steps to examine these assertions and address the accusations levied.”

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