More Than Two Dozen Babies & Toddlers Detained at Karnes Detention Center
Karnes County, TX
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RAICES has seen more than two dozen clients held at the Karnes Detention Center in Texas in the last five months who are less than three years old; the majority are less than 18 months old, and two are just a year old.

This is the youngest population we have ever documented in immigrant detention, but our staff members have seen children even younger.

The majority of the families we have met document medical issues. Mothers and fathers have had their medical treatment delayed, been prescribed pills with little information about what they are getting, and been stripped of medicine after certain diagnoses. Many families arrive from the hieleras and perreras with fever. Others emphasize to us that they are afraid their children will die in detention given the lack of medical care.

Detained children do not understand their situation. They are given arbitrary rules by detention staff that they cannot comprehend, like being told not to play on the carpet; they are punished if they break these rules. At Karnes, there was a ban on crayons, a practice our lawyers did not understand and could not explain to families.

This is completely unconscionable. Babies and toddlers should not be in prison.

There is ample evidence that children cannot adequately develop when detained at such a young age. Medical experts have condemned the practice. Congress Members have, for years, called for an end to family detention. Whistleblowers have even come forward, citing the “high risk of harm” to children held in detention.

This comes a day after the American Immigrant Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network filed a suit stating nine children less than one year old were being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Dilley Detention Center in Texas.

Our numbers show that the detention of babies and toddlers is alive and well at Karnes too. There is likely widespread detention of young children in our immigration system.

We call on the Department of Homeland Security to stop this practice and abide by the Flores settlement. Children cannot be allowed to languish in prison, and no baby belongs in a cage. We also call on DHS to end family detention. Families should not be held in prison while undergoing the asylum process.

Stop holding babies and young children in detention facilities without their parents. STOP IT!
Posted by Kay McManus at 3/2/2019 6:01:41 PM

Stop coming into our country illegally! STOP IT! if you would go through the proper immigration channels this wouldn't be happening. JUST WOULDN'T BE HAPPENING!
Posted by Sasquatch at 3/6/2019 3:49:38 PM

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