Somewhere in Southern Texas, a worn down warehouse is currently holding hundreds of children who were separated, indefinitely, from their parents and guardians. They don't have beds, bunks, or any semblance of privacy — instead, they are kept waiting inside a grid of cages made from wire fencing and steel pipes.a
The U.S. Border Patrol allowed the media to take a look at the facility where it is holding some of the families that have been arrested after attempting to illegally cross the southern border of the country, as the Associated Press opened their coverage.
This space and the conditions that hundreds of children are now enduring are the products of the Trump administration's enforcement of a "zero tolerance" policy at the border, despite vehement outrage from various groups at the separation of children from their migrant families at the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.
Floor space is at a premium, with 20 children sitting inside one of the cages. On the ground, evidence of what these children have been subsisting on are seen — bottles of water, bags of chips, and shiny foil blankets are everywhere on the ground.
Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights at the Women's Refugee Commission, was deeply concerned by what she saw during her visit. Brane met with a 16-year-old girl who, instead of official caretakers of the facility, was the one looking after a young girl for three days.
As a rule, facility staff members were forbidden from touching the children in the cages.
"She had to teach other kids in the cell to change her diaper," Brane said, referring to the teen that she met. The girl she has voluntarily taken care of, as it turns out, was actually 4 years old, although that was not evident at first glance.
"She was so traumatized that she wasn't talking, she was just curled up in a little ball," Brane said about the young girl, who couldn't speak Spanish and is now mixed up among strangers after being separated from her family.