Lawsuit: Immigrant Kids Are Suicidal, Eating Rotten Food in Secretive Detention Facilities

"I feel like I've given up," says a 17-year-old from Guatemala. "I feel like I'll never get out of here."


"It is a moral failing and a national shame…when children are locked away in overcrowded detention centers," reads then-candidate Joe Biden's presidential campaign website. But thousands of children are still receiving that treatment, despite Biden's prior condemnation.

A case filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California shines a light on the crowded, unsanitary, and unsafe conditions that minors are currently facing in immigration detention facilities. Faced with record-high numbers of people crossing the Southwest border, the Biden administration has scrambled to build temporary facilities to house migrant children. Over 14,000 unaccompanied minors are now in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Detained minors in their testimonials for the case described limited time outside, sporadic showers, and being served inadequate or unsafe food, including raw chicken and foul-smelling hamburgers. A 13-year-old Honduran recounted being "locked up all day" during five days in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody. A 14-year-old Guatemalan girl said that detainees at a facility in Houston had to drink expired milk when they ran out of water. "I was never allowed to make a phone call while I was there," said a 17-year-old Honduran who was in CBP custody for 11 days. Minors reported receiving few details about how long they would be in custody and many were transferred to other facilities with little notice or explanation.

Those conditions have left detained minors despondent. "I used to be able to cope with my anxiety and breathe through it, but now I feel like I've given up," said a 17-year-old from Guatemala. "I feel like I'll never get out of here." One child was placed on suicide watch and another described how difficult it was to get an appointment with a counselor, though many girls in detention "have thoughts of cutting themselves." Teens have resorted to cutting themselves with their identification cards since employees at one facility banned pencils, pens, toothbrushes, and even the metal nose clips of N95 face masks over concerns of self-harm, according to testimony and worker accounts.

"There is no one here I can talk to about my case," said a 17-year-old Honduran detainee. "There's also no one here I can talk to when I'm feeling sad. There's no one here; I just talk to God. It helps me and I cry. It would help if I could have a Bible."

Several of the minors who offered testimonials were held at Fort Bliss, a military base in Texas that now houses the largest facility for migrant children the U.S. has ever operated. Reason's C.J. Ciaramella reported on the unsanitary, overcrowded conditions at Fort Bliss after obtaining secret recordings from employees there. Workers spoke of equipment shortages, inappropriate contact between staff and minors, and inadequate medical care for migrants.

But those details have been slow to emerge because the Biden administration has sought to limit transparency about detention conditions. It has denied journalists access to border facilities as an alleged COVID-19 precaution. Officials have also prevented nonprofit lawyers from conducting oversight visits. That approach has drawn widespread criticism from politicians, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.), who stressed the importance of the press in "hold[ing] the administration accountable."

As it stands, the government's treatment of migrant children violates many of the principles Biden campaigned on. He actively criticized former President Donald Trump's immigration policies, though he's kept many of them in place. He told lawmakers in 2019 that he wouldn't hold minors in detention centers if elected president, but he's now opening new facilities.

While discussing harsh Obama-era immigration policies during a presidential debate last year, Biden said, "We made a mistake. It took too long to get it right." And yet, Biden is still making the mistakes of his predecessors. Migrant children are paying the price.

NEXT: Biden Administration Endorses Legislation to End Crack Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

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73 responses to “Lawsuit: Immigrant Kids Are Suicidal, Eating Rotten Food in Secretive Detention Facilities

  1. The guatamalen children want to cut themselves, the Mexican children want to cut grass, that's why we bring in the mexicans and not the guatamalans

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    3. bro were talking out kids killing themselves who we are responsibie for its no joke

  2. why don't they just walk south?

    1. once your in you can never leave

      1. welcome to Hotel Biden

    2. theyre kids and theyre locked up by adults with guns

  3. Sounds like they're homesick. Seriously, maybe you leftists should come up with a solution other than throwing gobs of other people's money at every issue.

    1. Pack them all up and take half of them to the Google Campus and the other half to an Amazon facility for the feel good crowd to care for. Maybe send a few of the English speakers to the NYT and WaPo as interns.

      1. Fuck that take them all to zuckerfags.

        These kids got a raw deal. The parents found out American are idiots about their kids. Everyone else’s kids in this world are bargaining chips, servants, or prostitutes for their parents. Parents dropped them off because these kids weren’t worth anything to them. Sad, but survival of the fittest. Or the most geographically lucky.

    2. 1) open the border

      2) end welfare

      3) legalize all drugs


      1. Wrong order.

  4. A case filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California shines a light on the crowded, unsanitary, and unsafe conditions that minors are currently facing in immigration detention facilities.

    Welcome to GuateKamala!

    1. That's a good one.

      1. Aye, well punned!

    2. "Welcome to GuateKamala!"

      Cackles lie Hyena, claps hand for no reason.

  5. My god, they have trouble getting appointments with counselors!

    They get free food and housing and are complaining they don't get timely psychiatric help?

    1. Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair! (tm)

      1. “Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair”

        When they sentence you (in your next lifetime, since you’re probably a geezer right now?), for 10,000 years in the slammer, for “rape”, for consensual sex, with you as an 18.0001-year-old, and her as a 17.9999 year-old… Or he on he, or she on she, or human on goat, as the case may be… PLUS infinity-time on the “sexual predator” list… I hope and pray that your slogan will be of IMMENSE solace to you!

        1. I think we now have a clearer idea on the dark web searches Sqrlsy performs on TOR.

      2. Reason is just letting us know that this is the excuse our betters are gonna use to let the kids in with free lifetime food and money and housing at our expense. Just fucking take my vote you assfucks. I’ll vote for Hillary forever, just don’t bring in any more scourge. Jesus.

  6. I hear Lucy Van Pelt is available for 5¢.

    Don't like it, hit the bricks. Kamala warned you.

    1. "I hear Lucy Van Pelt is available for 5¢."

      I expect ENB will do an article on that fairly soon.

    2. I hear Kamala is available for 5¢.

  7. The saddest thing is, that no Dem's will admit that Trump's policy of keeping them on the other side of the border made much more sense, and was actually better for the minors in question.

    1. Quite a few supposed non-Ds here won't admit it either; fan-boi adolescent focus on personality dies hard.

  8. I'd say the open borders koch reason plan is working out ok so far.

  9. If I just show up uninvited in Guatemala do I get put up in the Hilton?

    1. Maybe, but the ransom will be higher - - - - - - - -

    2. Absolutely. And a live in bilingual counselor!

      1. I hear Kamala is bi-lingual.

  10. Just another day in Joe Biden's AmeriKKKa!

  11. How are the people detained for the January 6 protests doing reason?

    1. There were no people detained. Just unpersons, horrible beasts that can't live without Trump.

      Like SPB2, Tony, etc.

    2. Say her name!

  12. It's Bidenland, the media and the stopped caring about these kids months ago. For a time they had to put out some muted "The situation is still very serious" lines and directed some mild criticism on democrats to avoid the appearance or being concerned only when republicans are in charge. Now even that's over with.

    There is no "humane immigration policy" that will dissipate the logistical nightmare that's unfolding before our eyes. America can barely handle homeless in their own cities, so they can't dump money on Guatamala to improve their society as to discourage migration.

    If 100 people tried to cram into a Mcdonalds, the only way to stop that is to stop them from doing that. If a building is on fire, you dump water on it. You don't say "fire prevention program and community outreach is much more important".

    People choose to be intentionally obtuse rather than see the plain truth before them. Oh no, crime isn't increasing because cops aren't doing their job, it's because of inequities in the POC community. Sure.

  13. A 17 year old illegal alien is now a young immigrant child. Thanks for keeping things real and honest, Reason.

    1. Surely you can't think they are gang members, or cartel agents?

    2. How are they verifying their ages? I know they can't ask for ID, since that would be racist.

  14. So part 1 is a success. Now for part 2: airdrop these kids back in their home villages to spread the word.

    1. airdrop? you want to send suicidal children skydiving? what the fuck is wrong with you!

    2. Just build catapults along the border. Cheaper than using aircraft.

  15. Nothing going on here a good minefield backed up by a few dozen MA2s won't fix.
    Posse Comitatus says the military can't be used for civilian law enforcement. They can be used to repel invaders, uniformed or not.

  16. Ship them back to their homelands. They do not belong in the US.

  17. Meanwhile some American families are suffering almost as much as the 17 year old children forced to eat undercooked chicken and yucky hamburgers.

    "I'm Not Going Back To Work": Indiana Residents Sue After Governor Nixes Unemployment Benefits
    "We'll have to decide which utility bill to pay, which household items to let go of," she added (despite the 116,000 open jobs), "... We'll have to change what kind of shampoo we use, what kind of toilet paper we use."
    Single ply!? Good Lord!

    1. I never report people on NextDoor but someone in my neighborhood posted like 6 different threads in 3 months with a slightly different sob story each time about how they lost their job/lived in their car/lived under a bridge/lived under their car and needed help. They were totally uninterested in actual job opportunities (of which there were hundreds of suggestions per thread), but very interested in odd jobs that involved neighbors inviting them to their private homes. They also had an accomplice/"fiance" who always needed to go with them to every job, because reasons. If they weren't trying to outright scam/steal from people, I'm pretty sure at the very minimum they were just trying to continue collecting unemployment benefits and doing the odd jobs for drug money.

  18. And yet, they pay big bucks to the cartels just to get here - - - - - - - - - -

  19. Democrats delivering more immigrant tears? Maaaaan, I should have placed my bet on that. I just thought it could never happen...

  20. It's one thing to put kids in cages.

    It's another thing to pretend you'll put an end to that... and then put kids in cages.

    And no one cares.


  21. Welcome to prison --- LAW BREAKERS...

    Cry me a river; I broke into someone else's house uninvited and now I'm in prison... Cry me a river. Life is so unfair and cruel... I wasn't hurting anyone; I just broke into my neighbors house..

    1. Excellent point. All lawbreakers deserve prison. Go 75 mph in a 70 mile per hour zone? Prison. Refuse to wear a mask in an open area when you're fully vaccinated? Prison. Miss your turn an turn around in someone's driveway? Prison for you you criminal trespasser! Record a football game without the express written permission of the NFL? Prison.

      Or, here's another idea. If what matters is making sure lawbreakers were punished, maybe we should give them a punishment that is proportional to the crime. We could require that anyone who is present in the USA without permission receive a corporal punishment where an officer strikes the criminal's wrist with their open palm. Then they could just be released, having received an appropriate punishment. If they are caught being present in the USA again, they receive another open palmed strike upon their wrist!

      1. lol.... Sure, sure; all those running and climbing fences were just looking to do a U-Turn.... URFOS.

        Perhaps the best thing is to help them complete that U-Turn.

    2. theyre kids dude wtf is wrong with you they were stupid theyre kids

  22. Over 14,000 unaccompanied minors are now in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    It is a tragedy, but not for the reasons the press thinks it is.

  23. Thanks for your beyond belief blogs stuff. Protein Snacks

  24. Those conditions are deplorable. Israeli illegal immigrant detention centers are much better. I ended up in an Israeli illegal immigrant detention center for 2 weeks, because I had over stayed my tourist visa before I could get the documents for an immigration visa and I wanted to appeal the deportation order.

    There were a few of us detainees in each room. Each room had a TV, 2 sinks, and an attached bathroom with 2 toilets and 2 showers. We got bread and yogurt delivered each morning for our breakfast and lunch, which allowed us to eat any time we were hungry. Dinner was served in the hallway and eaten in the room. It was good food with meat, rice, and vegetables. Detainees could also buy other food items, like sugar and cookies.

    We got yard time every day were we could socialize with detainees from other rooms, play ping pong, do pull ups, and access a water fountain for refilling our water bottles and a refrigerator for cooling the water. Sponsored detainees could use the washing machine in the yard.

    Overall, it wasn't a bad experience. I've been through worse in the USA.

    1. How many tens of thousands of immigrants were trying to enter the Israeli port of entry on a given day?

      1. in this line of questioning you might also consider the gdp of the nation. the greater the gdp to detainee ratio is, the better quality of conditions can be afforded. As such, building a wall would benefit border detainees because there would be fewer of them. Increasing border security AND making migrants’ lives better? Who wants that?

  25. Lebanon treats Palestinian immigrants much worse. Lebanon doesn't grant a pathway to citizenship or even give birthright citizenship to their children born in Lebanon. The Palestinian-Lebanese community has had 3 generations born in Lebanon without the right to apply for citizenship.

    Lebanon forces these Palestinian-Lebanese to live in UN run camps and get a travel permit to leave them. They are not allowed to buy real estate, own a business, work in many professions, or participate in the Lebanese pension program. Their educational opportunities are limited.

  26. The BBC has a powerful story on this as well.

    Strangely, nothing about it in the Washington Post.

  27. No mean tweets about the immigrant kids though, so I am sure they must be treating them well

  28. Boo hoo for the poor widdle baby. He shouldn't have come here in the first place. "Inadequate medical care for migrants"? Boo hoo again. How about no medical care for illegal invaders?

    1. It’s so horrible. Send them home for their own protection.

    2. How about not treating stupid kids who walk across an imaginary line worse than stray dogs?

      1. How 'bout holding near-adult adolescents responsible for their actions, like we do with US young people?

  29. People concentrated in camps against their will are just people, and they are just camps they are concentrated in. Against their will.


    1. For the most part they did not come here against their will. Those few who were trafficked here against their will deserve the justice of having the traffickers captured and prosecuted.

  30. Immigrant Kids Are Suicidal, Eating Rotten Food in Secretive Detention Facilities

    Just like many US public school students.

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