Reports of migrant children packed in buses 'unacceptable, says US agency

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: May 15, 2021, 06:14 PM(IST)

Migrant children in Dallas convention center, US Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Health and Human Services has nearly 20,397 unaccompanied migrant children in custody, as of now, and has expanded its lodgings from a 1,000-bed facility to nearly 20,000 beds

As the US faced a migrant crisis, several pictures and reports came to the surface that showed unaccompanied migrant children being forced to spend nights in parked busses at the Dallas convention center.

The US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the reports are “completely unacceptable” if they are true.

"This is completely unacceptable," Becerra said. "We're quickly investigating this to get to the bottom of what happened, and we’ll work to make sure this never happens again. The safety and well-being of the children is our priority."

Also read | Number of children travelling alone at US border eases in April

Becarra's statement has come as a psychiatrist, like many, has claimed that a 15-year-old Honduran boy was forced to stay on a parked bus from Saturday to Wednesday, During this time, he was not allowed to deboard the bus or even communicate with his friends and family. He was forced to use the washroom on the bus itself.

While it is unclear how many children were forced to go through this unpleasant experience, the local media has raised concerns against these experiences.

The accusation has come as the Health and Human Services is rushing to arrange more beds to accommodate incoming migrant children who are waiting for a court order on their placement in the US with a sponsor.

Health and Human Services has nearly 20,397 unaccompanied migrant children in custody, as of now, and has expanded its lodgings from a 1,000-bed facility to nearly 20,000 beds to meet the growing demand.

Meanwhile, MVM Inc., a transportation contractor hired by the US government, has cleared the air by claiming to have transported migrant children safely.

"Over the last seven weeks, the number of children needing escorts in this pandemic environment has increased to more than 7,100, creating challenging travel logistics and resulting in some extended wait times on their way to reunification sites," the company admitted.

MVM is also investigating the incident in question.

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