Texas governor says sexual assaults have been carried out against migrant children at centre holding 1,300

There are also allegations that children testing positive for Covid-19 are not being isolated

Mayank Aggarwal
Thursday 08 April 2021 14:38 BST
Gov. Abbott says there are allegations of abuse of unaccompanied migrant boys at San Antonio facility

Texas governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday said sexual assaults have been carried out against migrant children at a federally-run centre holding as many as 1,300 unaccompanied minors.

Mr Abbott, in a press conference outside the centre, said state agencies have received complaints that include allegations of sexual assault, shortage of staff to properly supervise the children inside the facility, and that the children inside the centre are not eating throughout the day.

He revealed that the complaints also allege children who have tested positive for Covid-19 are not being physically separated from children who have tested negative.

The governor directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to immediately investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect inside the centre in San Antonio.

He attacked the Biden administration and said they “opened the borders and failed to plan for the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border, and now we are faced with our worst fears – allegations of child abuse and neglect.”

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“Now he must respond to allegations of child abuse & neglect on his watch. The administration must close the facility and protect these children,” tweeted Mr Abbott.

He called on President Biden to shut down the facility and move the children to federally-run facilities in other states where, he claimed, they have more space, personnel and resources.

“President Biden’s disastrous decisions caused the crisis, and his administration must act now to protect these children, secure the border and end the crisis,” said Mr Abbott.

The allegations of sexual abuse come while social media is flooded with pictures and videos of unaccompanied minors crossing into the US. One recent video showed a 10-year-old boy from Nicaragua seeking help from a US Border patrol officer in Texas, who found him alone after he was allegedly abandoned by migrants he was travelling with.

John Cornyn, a senator from Texas, tweeted that “there is one heartbreaking story after another like this at the border” and called for a detailed investigation into the allegations levelled by the state’s governor.

“Unaccompanied children that arrive at our border have already endured dangerous conditions at home and a treacherous journey to get here. The fact that any child would experience abuse in the care of the US government is despicable. The HHS (Health and Human Services) Inspector General must fully investigate these allegations and the treatment of children at this facility,” he tweeted.

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