The Trump administration has been complicit in separating hundreds of migrant families, thanks to President Donald Trump’s cruel “zero tolerance” policy.
Apart from the trauma of being separated from their parents, there have been horrendous reports of child abuse at migrant shelters.
Many of these migrant children come from countries like El Salvador and now Salvadoran authorities have claimed three of those children have been sexually abused at shelters in Arizona, The Associated Press reported.
“They are sexual violations, sexual abuses, that is what this is about,” Liduvina Magarin, deputy foreign relations minister for Salvadorans overseas, told journalists.
These children are reportedly aged 12 to 17, currently residing in unnamed U.S. detention shelters.
Magarin said El Salvador will provide separated parents with lawyers, who can then decide how to proceed with these cases.
Trump rescinded the cruel policy after it was widely panned by both Democrats and Republicans. Protesters took to the streets to end family separation at the U.S. border.
While the policy no longer exists, the ordeal of the already separated families has hardly subsided.
The process of reunification has been moving at a painfully slow place, with hundreds of children still separated from their parents.
According to Magarin, Salvadoran government has been compelling the United States to speed up the process.
“May they leave the shelters as soon as possible, because it is there that they are the most vulnerable,” she said.
She added while the minors are reportedly in good physical health, “the psychological and emotional impact is forever, and we are attending to that situation.”
Magarin said once the children are back with their parents, psychiatric help will be provided to the minors.
This report from Salvadoran authorities brings to question another very dark aspect of holing kids up in detention centers, which have been dubbed a “gold mine” for sexual predators.
Police reports from two-thirds of the shelters run by the United States Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement were named in hundreds of allegations of child abuse.
In another harrowing report, Levian D. Pacheco, an employee working for the largest operator of migrant detention centers across the country was accused of sexually abusing at least eight unaccompanied minors.
Pacheco, who is also HIV positive, allegedly performed oral sex on two teenagers detained at the immigrant shelter and coerced at least one of them to penetrate him anally. He is also accused of inappropriately touching at least six children’s genital area through their clothes. All of his alleged victims are between the ages of 15 and 17 while the incidents took place between August 2016 and July 2017.
Magarin, citing the date provided by United States, said out of the 191 children separated from their families at the U.S. border, 18 still wait in detention centers across America.
Almost 2.5 million Salvadorans live in the U.S. but according to Magarin, the percentage of migrants seeking shelter in the United States has significantly dropped — 48 percent — as compared to 2017.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Loren Elliott