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I will live-tweet today's House Oversight hearing on inhumane treatment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The hearing begins at 2:30PM ET.
Yazmin Juarez fled to America, fearful of domestic violence and abuse she and her child, Mariee, would have faced there if they stayed They did not cross through a legal port of entry and were taken to a detention center in Dilley, TX.
20 days in detention later Mariee left the center deathly ill. Her mother argues ICE never provided her daughter proper medical care. Mariee died.
From today's testimony by Yazmin Juarez: "Mariee was a healthy baby girl when she was taken into ICE custody... Small children do not belong in detention. But if ICE’s detention center had just been safe and sanitary...
"...and if they’d given my daughter the proper medical care she needed – Mariee might still be here today, preparing to celebrate her third birthday in August."
The hearing will be underway soon.
A link to the video feed is available here: c-span.org/video/?462441-…
We will be starting shortly.
Testimony will also be given today by Michael Breen, president of Human Rights First, Clara Long, deputy dir of the Human Rights Watch DC branch, Hope Frye, ED of Project Lifeline, pediatrician Dr. Carlos A. Gutierrez + Ron Vitiello
frmr USBP chief and acting ICE director
From the opening remarks of Michael Breen at Human Rights First - "The Trump aministration uses its own dysfunction on the border as a pretext for
reducing protections for refugees and migrants."
"In reality, it’s the administration wideranging attack on these protections that is causing chaos. Whether by keeping people unnecessarily detained, restricting processing at ports of entry, stranding asylum seekers in Mexico, manipulating asylum law, or...
undermining efforts to solve the problems forcing people to flee, the administration is exacerbating a crisis it could, if it wanted to,
resolve by adhering to American laws and ideals."
Full remarks: documentcloud.org/documents/6187…
Clara Long of Human Rights Watch personally interviewed 16 detained children in three facilities, while HRW's monitoring team interviewed over 50 children throughout their visit.
In one interview w/ an 11-year-old boy held in CBP custody for 12 days, despite having parents in New Jersey, he told her: "About three days ago I got a fever. They moved me alone to a flu cell. There is no one to take care of you there. They just give you pills twice a day."
He continued: "I also am having an allergic reaction all over my skin. My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up.Two times they gave me a pill for it but not anymore."
Her full remarks available here: documentcloud.org/documents/6187…
Panelists are finally taking their seats and we're waiting on lawmakers to finish up voting elsewhere. Live hearing should start soon.
We are gaveled in and Chairman Jamie Raskin is seated. A large poster of Yazmin Juarez, clutching and kissing her child, Mariee, are displayed on the committee's dais behind Raskin as well as in a frame next to Yazmin.
The human rights catastrophes at the border at not improving the refuge crisis but are worsening it. Gang violence, govt dysfunction, police corruption, persecution, rape/gender violence are driving the unprecedented #s of desperate families headed to our border, Raskin notes.
Others are climate change refugee (Drought, flooding in home areas).
The journey to the US is filled with deadly peril. Robberies, assault, rape, drowning. But 100s of 1000s still come to make their legal claim for asylum, a right they have under law.
The Trump admin has separated families, prolonged detention, forced migrants back into Mexico. The "entire thrust of this policy" Raskin says, has played out with forced trauma.
The US has a responsibility to address this problem because the US has a hand in it, Raskin says: drugs, military US expansion in the region.
The policy is designed to make conditions so miserable that the refugees will stop coming. But it's not working, Raskin says, because the situation is so severe in the N. Triangle
Last week DHS IG said it was a "ticking time bomb" at detention centers. The overcrowding and prolonged detention at Clint, TX has led to outbreaks of scabies, chicken pox. The stench of kid's dirty clothing was so severe, it spread to the agents clothing.
One girl tried to kill herself, officers had to place her on a mattress to watch her as they brought in new arrivals, Raskin notes.
Children are being held far beyond the terms set out in Flores; pregnant women are being forced to sleep on the floor, in the cold.
Theres a "dangerous lack of accountability" at facilities, Raskin said. Says CBP has many officers trying their best, but many others are not.
And then there's issues like this: courthousenews.com/homeland-secur…
But officials have known about this FB group for many months, in some cases years. How do we end tolerance for these shameful actions? The hearing will hopefully pose the hard Qs that need to be asked, Raskin adds.
We are now watching a video showing various media clips depicting the video of immigrants detained at the border. Hands of children pressed against glass, filthy clothes, many children asleep on floor.
The video depicts a child speaking in Spanish about her experience at a center in Minneapolis, telling the reporter in the film that officers told children they could not bathe.
Now up, Republican Rep Chip Roy. He first apologies to Yazmin Juarez, "I cannot possibly imagine what you have gone through. We owe it to you and to our country to have a system that works and not have something like this happen."
After taking a sip of a drink, he begins: he's frustrated with the title of the hearing. It is formally entitled 'Kids in Cages"
What we say in the hyperbole we use matters, he says before adding he's never seen a kid in these cages as has been indicated.
We should discuss the humanitarian surge in migrants. The Southwest border migration in 2019 hit its highest rate in June.
Says CBP is stretched thin. He's seen the facilities and he's not seen a "single case the way it is being depicted. I'm seeing ways to separate people to keep them safe."
Chip Roy is now reading quotes from Democrats in the past year where they said there wasn't a crisis at the border.
"Some in this body would rather attack the men and women on the front lines of this crisis."
Roy says CBP has rescued 3K migrants this year alone. Including 14 migrants caught in a horse locker in sweltering heat.
"We don't have enough resources to respond to the crisis."
Chip Roy notes that CBP claimed no children were going hungry.
"We're oversight," Roy says. "Let's oversee this."
Note: Rep @AyannaPressley is listening as Roy speaks and is shaking her head as Roy claims Democrats were responsible for delays to CBP funding.
For clarity, I'd like to note something, today's hearing is hosted by an Oversight subcommittee. The full committee meets again on Friday to talk about the substantiated allegations of civil rights violations.
Yazmin Juarez has been sworn in.
She is speaking in Spanish and there is a translator present to assist lawmakers. Her full testimony recounts her experience coming to the U.S. You can read her entire statement here:
Her translator is now speaking: she made the journey because she feared for her life. the trip was dangerous but she was more scared of what could happen if she stayed. She wanted a new life for her family. Instead she watched her baby girl die slowly and painfully.
It is painful for her to relive this experience, but she wants people to know what happens to so many children in detention.
"My beautiful girl is gone," Juarez says.
Mariee was always a happy, very healthy baby, she says. She wasnt sick until detained. She was locked in a cage with 30 other people, moms and children included, and forced to sleep on the floor. The facility she was at was nicknamed the "ice box" because of how cold it was.
No effort was being made to separate the sick or healthy or to care for them, she recalls of her time at Dilley, TX facility. One boy in a room she stayed in was sick, but he received no care, even though he was sent to the clinic. He was just sent back. With no help.
Within a week at Dilley, her daughter got sick. Coughing, sneezing, congestion. She waited in a long line in a gym to get medical care. One physician assistant saw her, said her daughter had a respiratory infection and prescribed Tylenol and honey for her cough.
The next day she was worse. Her fever was scorching, she was weak. CBP told her she had an ear infection and gave her antibiotics. She begged for deeper exams, but the agents sent her back to her room.
She tried to come back for more help, along with many other mothers. "I was told to go away" and come back. Mariee lost 8% of her body weight in 10 days, vomiting constantly, when finally seen by a dr, they told me to give her Pedialyte and Vix Vaporub.
"I didn't learn until after she died you weren't supposed to give kids under 2 Vix because it can cause respiratory problems," Juarez says.
"My baby got sicker. She was vomiting constantly. She wouldn't eat or sleep. She was weak. When I finally rec'd a notice that she was to be seen by a dr, I was relieved," Juarez recounts.
"Though it didn't happen, we were told we were up for a transfer out of detention. I was relieved because I thought we could take her to see a dr. As a mother, it was very difficult for me to see her suffering."
One day at 5AM, she was woken and taken to be processed for transfer out of detention. They waited or hours. Mariee never went to a clinic to be seen. Her medical records there said she had been "cleared with no medical restriction."

But she was never seen.
Now Yazmin's voice is cracking and she is fighting back tears.
She was terrified when she finally landed at an emergency room after transfer. She had a viral lung infection. Over 6 weeks, she went to another children's hospital. My little girl suffered horrible pain, was poked and prodded.
"I couldnt hold her to console her. As a mother, I wish I could have taken her place."
She is now crying and speaking at the same time.
All of the hard work of these doctors came too late. My Mariee died on what is Mother's Day in my country, she says. When she left the hosp, all she had was an imprint of her daughter's hands onto paper, made by pink ink. It was a gift to her from nurses for Mother's Day.
There aren't many dry eyes in this room.
A lot of tight lips and tears being wiped away.
"I'm here today because I want to put an end to this. It is very hard to see so many children and for none of them to be my daughter. To think i will never see her again. Hug her, enjoy being with her or tell her just how much I love her." - Yazmin Juarez
"You have no idea how hard it is to move forward without my little girl., It's like they tore out a piece of my heart, like they tore out my soul. I am suffering every day. It is difficult to get up and move forward without her."
"I wanted to have a better life for her and work hard so that she could keep growing the way she was. But now we won't be able to do that because she is gone. I'm here to put an end to this and that we never allow more children to suffer and die in this way."
"My daughter is gone. ...The people in charge of these facilities are not supposed to let these things happen to these little angels. " - Yazmin Juarez
"It can't be so hard for a country like the United States to protect kids who are locked up. You don't know the terror mothers and children feel seeing people in cages. Without warmth, without a home."
In closing, Yazmin says: If I had the power to change things and do it right and protect children, believe I would. I thank god for giving me a heart that is noble but weak. It is painful to see children going through this and want to do something but am unable to."
The depth of her compassion - she asks god to bless each lawmaker by name.
Raskin thanks for her testimony, says words cannot express the sympathy they have and the sorrow at hearing her story. Words cannot express the gratitude they have for her willingness to come forward. They have just a few questions for her.
Chip Roy says he wants to reiterate what Raskin has says. But says, you said it, "There are no words." Thanks her for her blessing and her courage to be here.
Raskin says our country is one of immigrants, except for descendants of slaves and Native Americans.
Our ancestors saw America as a land of hope and dreams and opportunity. I know you can't talk about what you left behind for legal reasons,, he says, but asks:
Can she describe what America represented to her and what moved her to try and get to America with her daughter?
She starts, without crying, saying: The U.S. is the land of opportunity, work, important doctors. It's the American Dream. The wish and purpose of bringing her here was to move forward with her daughter, to grow, and give her what she couldn't in Guatemala.
Then she begins to break down a bit and says: We had so many wishes and dreams. You can't imagine.
Rep Carolyn Maloney, D-NY is up. She asks why share this experience here?
"I am here because I want all people around the world and in every country, especially in the U.S., that we need to make a change and make a difference to actually care and protect kids more."
"ICE detention centers are terrible inadequate places to lock children up, I'm sorry to say, as if they were animals. It is difficult to say that but I repeat it because I am here to make a difference in the name of Mariee." - Yazmin Juarez
Rep Rashida Tlaib is up. She says what Yazmin described mirrored what she saw in El Paso. Asks her to speak more on the conditions they faced because it would be helpful for colleagues to understand how it felt.
Very cold nights, early morning sleeping on hard concrete with a "grey thing, a so-called blanket." The food was not appropriate for a child, did not have proper nutrients for a child. No proper hygenic situation, it went through many hands, adding more germs.
Children don't have the defenses to ward off serious illnesses, in her experience with Mariee, she was a happy, healthy child and suffered no illnesses until here. But there wre 100s of adults/children sick. Very difficult to see 100s of ppl trying to be seen for consult.
But so many were turned away. And that to her seems "the most negligent thing."
Rep William Clay, D-Missouri: This starts at the top with @realDonaldTrump, Stephen Miller and DHS that implements it. If you're not outraged by the situation, Clay says, then you have lost your soul and compassion for others.
Yazmin says she was never given an explanation as to why her daughter was never given more tests. They couldn't see a doctor without having an appt. But when finally seeing a dr, hey took her temp and gave her a popsicle.
CBP said it would work for her. In her country, you cover children up when they have fever, she says. But here, it didnt happen that way. She was vomitting in front of the dr and they wouldnt do more serious tests.
I was saying, "Handfcuff if you want to, but take us to a specialist." - Yazmin

Rep Debbie Wasserman Schulz reads from the medical record which shows false information, incl. that Mariee was seen and safe to travel.
But there was no actual medical eval on her last day in facility, the day the record was produced.
Yazmin is testifying here under oath, reminder.

There could be many more falsified records to cover up their neglect, DWS says.
Chip Roy speaking in Spanish to Yazmin asks her to explain what she is doing now in the US.
She's got family here.. She wants to work, study and learn and in the future, when she is a mother again, she can teach them everything she has fought for, she says.
Rep @AyannaPressley to Yazmin: "You did nothing wrong. You did everything you could to help your child.. You sacrificed everything you knew for the safety of your baby."
Recalls when she said she was noble but with a weak heart.
Pressley says she underestimates her own strength.
The U.S. govt is responsible, this administration is responsible for acting out human rights abuses on U.S. soil.
Pressley apologies to Juarez for failing her.
"I will never forget what you shared with us today, even if I'm tempted to because it painful, traumatic and shameful. But I refuse to forget. We will not forget you or Mariee. We will not look away." - Pressley
Rep @AOC is up, now speaking Spanish to Juarez. Asking her about the conditions, if they were safe/ sanitary under US law yes or no? Juarez says no, they were not. She asks if she was treated cruelly by agents that she saw under ICE conditions:
"When I was in detention, in the cage and we had a phone interview with immigration and ICE officials, they asked why I was here and what I came for. I said I came for my child's future. Wouldn't let her talk. Said 'this country is for Americans, Trump is my president...'
" & we can take your little girl away from you and lock you in jail.' I started to cry. I had no words to respond. That is mistreatment."
She was not called crude names, but the nastiness of the word used were enough.
Did she feel safe? No.
.@AOC : To have a CBP officer tell a migrant woman this country is for Americans and to threaten separating her from her daughter, that's a human rights violation. Its extraordinarily concerning and at a bare minimum, grounds for serious investigation.
With her testimony over, lawmakers are now on a brief recess. I'll resume live-tweeting shortly.
And we are back.
Michael Breen is up first. There is no need for these human rights abuses at the border, he says. But this is the predictable result of the policy of the admin and "gross incompetency," he says.
He recalls: an 18 y/o girl who stood up in immigration court. He watched as she begged a judge to get back to her daughter, a product of rape from when she was 13. Instead she was sent to detention for 50 days. Then taken to Juarez and told to fend for herself.
Breen recalls how she told him she asked an agent for help for her dying baby and the agent's response was "Are they dead yet?" She was told to come back only if that was the case.
Breen has worn the American flag on his own lapel, like many who are working these facilities, he says. But what has happened on the border "is not the America I wanted to serve."
Clara Long of Human Rights Watch now up. She has visited facilities in Calif, Texas, Arizona, Florida.. In El Paso, TX, what she found was "outrageous."
No contact with family members in some cases, many were sick, cold, malnourished.
She spoke to an 11 y/o boy accompanied by his 3 y/o brother. The younger had a hacking cough, he fell asleep mid-interview. The 11 y/o said "No one here will take care of him."
Cells were mucus-mud stained. No reg. access to soap, toothbrushes, showers just once or twice in a period of weeks if at all.
"No one was taking care of the kids with the flu. We were not allowed to leave the flu cell ever," a 14 y/o girl told Long.
When the children ask how long they'll be there, sometimes they are told it will be for months, Long says.
By law they should be released within 72 hours.
A 12 y/o girl told Long how she missed her grandmother.
She was alone, but for her sisters who are 8 and 4 years old.
"Issuing a blank check" to the admin to continue this will only lead to more suffering, Long says.
Hope Frye of Project Lifeline - she's also an immigration law atty - is now testifying.
A 2017 fed court decision found the Rio Grande Valley facilities failed to provide food, water, hygiene, kept temps too cold.
They've had 2 years to remedy these failures. They've done nothing. Children there are giving non-nutritious food and not enough of that.
When there are bottles and formula, there is no way to wash the bottles, so they become contaminated.
Some babies were breastfed, some complained they did not get enough water to produce milk.
Some had showered, some had not. Like a 17 year old mother with a 10 month old son. She hadn't bathed in 20 days, Frye says.

During her visits, Frye actually came down the flu. The same flu the children had.
Now to Baby K, born premature in an emergency c-section in Mexico, once detained, CBP made her throw out her backpack,that held the baby's clothes, pills, disinfectant.
After several days in cold cells and no care, Baby K was non-responsive and looked at risk of dying. Frye encountered them, brought a senior govt official to see them. They ordered a transfer, But it took 48 hours to do it.
The admin would have us believe the influx is the cause for the delay. But the real cause is the unnecessary requirements now established by the admin.
Dr. Carlos Guitierrez, a pediatrician of El Paso Texas, says this is a human issue not a R or D issue. "This is basic to human beings: We need to take care of children the way we'd take care of our own children. They deserve the love and respect that every lawmaker receives. "
Former acting ICE director under Trump, Ronald Vitiello says 2K people are caught and released each day, every year. Illegal gang members who came into the U.S., accounted for to 1/3 of ICE arrests, he claims.
He has a list of suggestions to fix the problem, which includes not blaming officials for laws on the book, and giving them more $.
His testimony in full available here:
Breen then reads from the u.S. State Dept's assessment of Juarez, Mexico. It is describes as thick with violent crimes, gang activity, armed criminal groups target private/public transportation, kidnapping, assault, rape.
State said of Juarez: "Federal and state security forces have limited capability to respond to violence."

And this, Breen says, is the place CBP has dropped off immigrants, alone, to fend for themselves.
Regret the typo folks. It should say "it is described as"
Dr Guitierrez begs Congress to help him and other doctors get access to those detained. If you're going to take away their medicines, then keep a list of what they've been on, he says. The wrong medicine could do more harm than good.
Vitiello says if we don't reduce the flow to the border, the conditions will get worse. The supplemental funding will make it somewhat better but he says, it get worse. "Next spring," he says, "we'll be exactly where we are now if we dont curb the flow."
Rep Mark Meadows says since the facilities are only intended to hold people for 12 hours, asks about telemedicine? (Docs talking to patients by phone)
Gutierrez says it will be limited, you can't see what you're looking at.
Meadows interrupts says, he knows, he's from the mountains and knows how hard it can be to get access.
Gutierrez is not able to answer fully because Meadows yields his time and no one asks Gut. to elaborate.
Rep Robin kelly follow up on getting pediatricians into the ctrs.
Vitiello says in '14 it was helpful. The additional $4.6 supplemental funding by Trump will help too, but he says, there's restrictions around privacy on medical records/treatment
But there are "common sense" ideas that could work, he says.
Vitiello says reports of the negative, abusive culture at CBP happens in a minority group, this isn't the way most officers are
Breen; When you ask an org that is set up for 12 hour detention to forcibly separate detention or hold them for long periods of time, it dehumanizes the agents and they in turn start to dehumanize other people.
This happened in parts of the U.S. Army, in his experience, Breen says.
The govt should not be placing these men and women in this situation. It's outrageous.
Clara Long at HRW speaks on the 11 y/o epileptic twins she met. They were separated from their older sister,who had all of their information for their parents. They were eventually connected to their father by phone but it took 13 days. And one twin was experiencing a bad rash.
The twins are out of CBP custody but are now in ORR custody.
"They are still in the system and I think of them every day," Long says.
Updates added. More developments on the way.
Apologies for using the acronym for ORR on first reference earlier. I realize some folks may have no idea what that body is. (D.C. is an alphabet soup.) It is short for Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Republican Rep Michael Cloud of Texas is constantly disappointed with the political theater in D.C. and the lack of action. The problem at the border "could have been resolved months and months ago," he says.
Cloud expresses his frustration over the people who "recycle children" and try to use kids as a means to get over the border.
Vitiello agrees, says the word is out, ppl know if they bring their child, the end result is to be released into the U.S.
Rep. @AOC is up. She says, there's a cultural component that may be missing in this discussion. How Latino people consider and define family is often different than how people in the U.S. may define it. That can cause confusion.
Kids are being called unaccompanied, when in fact, they are accompanied, she says, by grandmothers, brothers, sisters, cousins. "Just because that guardian is not their biological father or mother, they're accused of human trafficking," AOC says. This is common in this culture.
Clara Long agrees, and notes how CBP is not keeping a record of the family members. So, even if they wanted to verify something, they couldn't.
Under Trump, at least 6 children have died, AOC says. a 10 year old, a 7 year old, an 8 year old, two 16 year olds and a 2 year old.
No children had ever died in CBP custody until now.
What is happening then? AOC asks.
The conditions of the facilities are leading to these problems. There can be plenty of signs saying "wash your hands" but if there's no soap - that's a problem.
UPDATED. Yazmin Juarez testified before Congress under oath about her experience with the Trump administration's immigration policies and how neglect by CBP led to the death of her 19 month old daughter.
Rep Ayanna Pressley asks Vitiello - who earlier said agents have sworn an oath to uphold the laws - does CBP or ICE training feature any anti-bias or cultural competency or trauma-informed training? Vitiello says yes, it is part of what agents experience.
But in so far as family members and what the law requires, adult family that aren't moms or dads - well, Congress could change those law, Vitiello says.
Ayanna Pressley also notes how three additional CBP facilities have opened (Background: motherjones.com/politics/2019/…) and more money has flowed in year after year.
Yet, these abuses continue.
Breen of Human Rights First makes a few observations. He hears Republicans say they are concerned about aiding and abetting terrorists and criminals. Well, he says, he can describe another type of aiding and abetting. Try metering at points of entry.
Breen says he met a mother of an 8 yo child who followed the rules, she was told to take a number and wait her turn. She's holding # 17,000+ She is in Juarez Mexico, where cartels have access to her and her families.
Breen asks: "Is she better off or do you think we're aiding and abetting cartels where they can actively prey on her? Or should we put in her in an ICE case mgmt program where 99% of the people show up for their hearing?"
Then, Breen asks if he can make a point about something he's heard repeatedly today. The use of the phrase "catch and release."
"These are human beings. Not trout. Presenting yourself at a port of entry is exercising your right to national law."
"You have not been caught. You have volunteered yourself. Being released implies you intended to escape but in case management, again, all of these people show up at their hearings.."
An aside to everything else, Breen notes, the "ever-changing bizarre rules this administration has created on the fly" makes it hard for agents to do the right thing as well.
Vitiello disagrees, telling a republican that most cases end in absentia.
But that's when you "rocket docket" people, Breen notes.
Rocket dockets expedite deportation orders for anyone who doesn't show up in court.
ICE ran the case mgmt program, that worked, Breen says. They had 100% of appearances and then Trump cancelled it in 2017 without explanation.
"If you're not going to give people due process, then yeah, they won't show up," Breen says.
Clara Long says nothing the Trump admin has done will do anything to curb the flow of immigration despite his claims. And there is also a basic lack of comprehension around the driving force of immigration here.
She quotes poet Warsan Shire to sum it up: "No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land."
I have to wrap up live tweeting but you can watch the hearing streaming on CSPAN right now.
And if you missed my live feed earlier, you can catch up here:
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