WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration has a big problem on its hands; there are new allegations that undocumented children have been physically, sexually and verbally abused by U.S. border control agents.
The ACLU alleges it’s been going on for years and the government has done nothing.
Wednesday night, civil rights groups say these leaked images of undocumented children packed into a U.S. border patrol holding cell only tell half the story.
In a new complaint filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the ACLU and other groups accuse customs and border protection agents of keeping illegal immigrant children in squalid conditions.
Denying them medical care, strip searching and shackling them; even sexually and verbally abusing them. The ACLU says the charges are based on accounts of undocumented children being held.
On Wednesday, the agency tells CNN customs and border protection “Is ensuring nutritional and hygienic needs are met; that children are provided meals regularly and have access to drinks and snacks, and are given proper medical care. Mistreatment or misconduct is not tolerated.”
The Obama administration says at least 60-thousand unaccompanied children could cross America’s southwest border this year; today the crisis is growing, children now coming from countries other than Mexico, immigrants from as far south as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“Undeniably there is a problem of humanitarian proportions.” Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress he recently visited the border.
“I approached a ten year old girl and asked her where is her mother and she told me, I don’t have a mother, I am looking for my father in the United States,” said Johnson.
Johnson told Congress the U.S. is opening 3 new facilities to house children and pulling scores of agents from their duties watching the border to watching the kids. “We know we must do something to stem this tide.”
However, republicans told Johnson the situation at the border is already out of control. “Talking about excessive force and violence, I wish you’d push back a little harder Mr. Johnson, but this is the kind of thing that is happening to your border patrol agents everyday. 27:27 they are being attacked with vehicles. They are being shot and they are being pummeled with large rocks.”
In the hearing Wednesday, republican senators blamed the influx problem on President Obama, due to his promise of immigration reform this year.
But the administration is saying the kids are reporting to them that they came over to escape violence in their homeland.