While United States president Donald Trump may have signed an executive order to end the separation of families at the border, nothing much has really changed. Hundreds of parents still remain clueless about where their children are housed and the children, in turn, have now detailed heartbreaking instances of mistreatment at the detention centres.
Several immigrant children, some as young as 14, housed at a juvenile detention centre in Virginia have spoken of abuse and torture. In federal court filings, which comprise many sworn statements from Latino children, many of the detainees have spoken about how they were handcuffed, beaten and left nude in their cells. Some even said that the guards have often stripped them, strapped them to chairs and left with bags over their heads.
Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me," the Associated Press quoted a Honduran immigrant as saying.
"Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn't really move. ... They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on."
In addition, a former child-development specialist, who worked at the facility, confirmed these allegations on the condition of anonymity and said that she saw several children with broken bones and bruises.
The court filings also speak of unsanitary conditions of these detention centres and how emails and phone calls are monitored. It has also been said that the separated children are often kept in confinement and are even given psychotropic drugs on the pretext of vitamins.
"There seems to be a level of cruel intent I've never seen before and a real indifference to the well-being of a child," CNN quoted Holly Cooper, one of the attorneys challenging the government's detainment of minors.
Another migrant teen, taken away from his mother, said that he tried to run away from one of the detention centres but was caught. After he started acting out and getting into fights, he was moved to another centre over "behavioural issues."
The facility even went on to say that he had been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and intermittent explosive disorder. But his defiance only let to more pain.
"They will grab my hands and put them behind my back so I can't move. Sometimes they will use pens to poke me in the ribs, sometimes they grab my jaw with their hands," he said in his declaration, reported CNN.
"They are bigger than me. Sometimes there will be three or four of them using force against me at the same time. The force used by staff has left bruises on my wrists, on my ribs, and on my shoulder. The doctor here gave me ibuprofen for the pain."
Meanwhile, it is not just the children facing such issues. Adult migrants do not have it easy either and have spoken up about deplorable conditions as well. Just a few days ago, it was said that about 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs and Christians, have reportedly been detained at a federal prison in the state of Oregon.
The men told the Oregonian that they had been separated from their families weeks ago and had not been able to meet anyone since. The only contact they have had with the outside world were their Hindi and Punjabi translators, the access to which was also limited.
They also said that they were locked for about 22-23 hours a day and haven't even been able to get legal aid. The immigrants spoke of isolation and told the lawmakers that they have no clue where their wives and children are and also worry that they may never see them again.