Lawyers of migrant children held in U.S. custody asked a federal court on Monday for the release of teenagers from two emergency housing sites in Texas, arguing that their conditions violate standards for government facilities that house migrants.
Why it matters: Teens at the facilities have reported "deplorable conditions" and said they've suffered from mental health problems and prolonged stays at the facilities, according to the complaint, which contains testimony from more than a dozen children.
Catch up fast: Government watchdogs launched a probe into one of the facilities after a whistleblower complaint last month corroborated reports of trauma among children because of overcrowding and lack of access to mental health services.
- Authorities there have regularly supervised children under their care for panic attacks, escape attempts and self-harm, CBS News reported in June.
- Two brothers said they were held at the other facility for 65 days despite having a relative in Houston who was willing to care for them. Others reported a lack of educational and recreational services and alleged that they were served undercooked food during their stay.
The facilities in question — one in Fort Bliss Army base and the other at a camp for oil workers in Pecos — house 1,800 and 800 unaccompanied children, respectively, per documents obtained by CBS News, which first reported the lawsuit.
The bottom line: The lawsuit calls for expedited release of children who are being held at the makeshift sites and for the government to establish higher standards for such emergency facilities.
The big picture: President Biden has faced criticism for his response to the record surge in unaccompanied children crossing the southern border. Administration officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.