The Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday that 249 children held at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Clint, Texas, will be moved from there as a result of poor conditions.
“Last week ORR identified shelter space in its network for 249 (unaccompanied children) who were located at the CBP Clint Station facility—these children should now all be in HHS care as of Tuesday, June 25th,” HHS spokesperson Evelyn Stauffer said.
The statement follows shortly after a number of lawyers, doctors and advocates warned that the health and hygiene conditions at several facilities in Texas were well below the standard.
“The kids had colds and were sick and said they didn’t have access to soap to wash their hands. It was an alcohol-based cleanser. Some kids who were detained for two to three weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower,” Clara Long, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, said of the Clint facility.
She added that some showered even more rarely, creating conditions favorable for disease spreading. “It makes me very concerned about the public health emergency.”
Stauffer acknowledged Monday that the facilities are usually not equipped to care for the children that often spend a lot of time waiting there. By June 10, over 52,000 unaccompanied children were transferred from the Department of Homeland Security to HHS, which represents a significant increase of about 60% compared to last year.
Last week, the Trump administration argued that migrant children didn’t need toothbrushes, medicine and blankets in order to be held in “safe and sanitary conditions,” CNN writes, although Vice President Mike Pence said later that those items were certainly needed.