Border agents charged with abusing undocumented children

Several advocacy groups say some of those undocumented children have been physically, sexually and verbally abused by U.S. Border Control agents. Civil Rights groups say leaked images of undocumented children – packed into a U.S. Border Patrol holding cell – only tell half the story. In a new complaint filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU and other groups accuse Customs and Border Patrol agents of keeping illegal immigrant children in squalid conditions, denying them medical care, strip-searching and shackling them – even sexually and verbally abusing them.

Homeland Security despises those charges, saying the agency “is ensuring nutritional and hygienic needs are met; that children are provided meals regularly and have access to drinks and snacks; and are given proper medical care. Mistreatment or misconduct is not tolerated.”

The administration says at least 60,000 unaccompanied children could cross America’s southwest Border this year. They are now coming from countries other than Mexico – from as far south as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

“Undeniably, there is a problem of humanitarian proportions,” said Secretary Jeh Johnson of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, on Capitol Hill, Johnson told Congress:

“I approached a 10-year-old girl and asked her where is her mother, and she told me ‘I don’t have a mother, I am looking for my father in the United States.'”

The U.S. is opening three new facilities to house children and reassigning agents to taking care of the kids.

“We know we must do something to stem this tide.”

But Republicans say the situation is already out of control:

“Talking about excessive force and violence, I wish you’d push back a little harder Mr. Johnson,” stated Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. “But this is the kind of thing that is happening to your Border Patrol agents everyday – they are being attacked with vehicles, they are being shot and they are being pummeled with large rocks.”

Republican senators blame the influx problem on President Obama’s promise of immigration reform this year. The administration says the children are trying to escape violence in their homeland.

Categories: KUSI