Infants Released From ICE Custody in Texas

Written by on March 11, 2019

By: Sarah Adewolu

TEXAS – After being held in custody at a rural Texas detention center by ICE officers, 12 infants have been released. They were let go after allegedly dealing with unsanitary water, as well as lack of baby food and immediate medical attention.

The South Texas Residential Center, in Dilley, was a confinement area for infants under the age of one. After the release of the mothers and their infants, friends and family members were ready to, “buy them a bus or plane ticket and receive them in their home,” Katy Murdza, the advocacy coordinator at the American Immigration Council’s Dilley Pro Bono Project, told CBSNews.

According to the “unspoken rule” of ICE, mothers with young babies seeking asylum are to undergo the detainment process, which is to keep immigrants under custody until officials are able to determine they are not a threat to the community or a flight risk.

Murdza’s suspicion stems from the possibility that the unexpected increase of very young infants might have a connection to the arrival of the caravan at the Eagle Pass port of entry, where approximately 2,000 migrants arrived last month. An ICE official told CBSNews that they believed the increase in detained children was due to increased border crossings.

“As the number of family units crossing the border into the U.S. has increased, so too has the frequency of those with younger children, including infants,” wrote the official.

Many infants at the detention center lost weight, due to the lack of available formula, which needed a special request for access. Because the mothers were not given bottled water to mix with the formula, infants were often forced to drink from tap water, which Murdza described as potentially unsafe to the baby’s health because “the staff doesn’t even drink the water [here], and it smells like chlorine.”