Immigration attorneys who visited a U.S. Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, said they forced authorities to hospitalize four severely ill toddlers, all under the age of 3, who were feverish, coughing, vomiting and had diarrhea.
Toby Gialluca, a Florida-based attorney, told HuffPost on Friday that one 2-year-old’s eyes were rolled back in her head, and she was “completely unresponsive” and limp.
The immediate condition of the children, who have teenage parents or guardians, is unknown.
Gialluca described the terror she saw in the children’s eyes.
“It’s just a cold, fearful look that you should never see in a child of that age,” Gialluca said. “You look at them and you think, ‘What have you seen?’”
The HuffPost reports that another mother at the same facility had a premature baby, who was “listless” and wrapped in a dirty towel.
The lawyers told the news outlet that they feared that if they had not shown up to tour the facility, the severely ill toddlers would have received zero medical attention and potentially died.
“It’s intentional disregard for the well-being of children,” Gialluca said. “The guards continue to dehumanize these people and treat them worse than we would treat animals.”
The Associated Press reported this week that children in border facilities don’t have adequate access to food, water, soap or showers.
The HuffPost report comes after a Justice Department lawyer suggested at a Tuesday hearing that a toothbrush and a bar of soap were not necessarily required to fulfill sanitary conditions for detained migrant children laid out in a 1997 settlement agreement. That years-old agreement requires certain sanitary and safety standards be met for detained persons during a recent hearing at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.