WASHINGTON (AP) — Many mothers detained in border stations this summer reported the health of their children worsened while in custody, recounting bouts of fever, diarrhea and respiratory illness they say were not properly treated, according to a nonprofit legal group’s questionnaire of 200 detained women.
The Dilley Pro Bono Project handed out a 13-question survey, mostly in Spanish, to mothers detained in June and July who were seeking their services, according to a copy of their report .
The women had entered the U.S. between May and July and were detained in border facilities before being transferred to a family detention center in Dilley, Texas.
A crush of migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has strained the system managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Border officials have said for months they were overwhelmed and needed more money. Since the deaths of children in custody, more medical staff and medical checks have been added.
The agency did not immediately return a request for comment about the latest report.
While detainment is down as of September, over the spring and summer months there were often more than 15,000 people in custody; some 4,000 is considered a crisis.
Reports of squalid conditions inside border facilities prompted renewed outrage and calls for reform. Children were being detained much longer than three days, the limit, because of clogs up and down the system.
Border numbers are declining after a crackdown by Mexico at its own border, in the wake of a threat of increased tariffs by President Donald Trump and a ramped-up U.S. policy that turns asylum-seekers back to Mexico.
Most of the mothers said their child was not seen by a medical provider, though many reported kids with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
One mother said she arrived with her 3-year-old daughter who was soaking wet. There were no dry clothes, so the child slept in the cold facility with wet clothing and woke with fever and congestion. They were transferred but the girl was still sick weeks later.
By Colleen Long for US NEWS
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