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Sexual assault reported by thousands of migrant children

Protesting+Immigration+and+Customs+Enforcement%2C+thousands+of+people+around+the+country+fight+against+the+separation+of+families+and+deportation+of+immigrants+that+occurs+inside+ICE+detention+centers.+%C2%A0This+separation+of+children+from+their+families+has+allowed+the+sexual+assault+of+unaccompanied+minors+to+transpire+while+they+are+in+U.S.+custody.
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Sexual assault reported by thousands of migrant children

Protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thousands of people around the country fight against the separation of families and deportation of immigrants that occurs inside ICE detention centers.  This separation of children from their families has allowed the sexual assault of unaccompanied minors to transpire while they are in U.S. custody.

Protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thousands of people around the country fight against the separation of families and deportation of immigrants that occurs inside ICE detention centers.  This separation of children from their families has allowed the sexual assault of unaccompanied minors to transpire while they are in U.S. custody.

flickr.com

Protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thousands of people around the country fight against the separation of families and deportation of immigrants that occurs inside ICE detention centers.  This separation of children from their families has allowed the sexual assault of unaccompanied minors to transpire while they are in U.S. custody.

flickr.com

flickr.com

Protesting Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thousands of people around the country fight against the separation of families and deportation of immigrants that occurs inside ICE detention centers.  This separation of children from their families has allowed the sexual assault of unaccompanied minors to transpire while they are in U.S. custody.

Izzi Graham, Staff Reporter

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A disturbing pattern of sexual assault and harassment accusations involving unaccompanied minors in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Centers is emerging, and the numbers are horrific. Ted Deutch, a Democratic representative from Florida, released documents that revealed Health and Human Services has investigated between 4,000 to 5,000 complaints of sexual assaults of unaccompanied minors, and referred over 1,300 to the Department of Justice. These assaults and abuses were reported between 2014 to 2018, the majority of which were carried out by other minors in custody. However, at least 150 to 180 were committed by the staff and employees.

 The sexual abuse reported was in the form of exposing the minor to pornographic videos, forced genital contact and other sexual relations. The level of abuse speaks volumes about the lack of appropriate supervision which is necessary to protect the children in these detention centers.

 Although sexual abuse of minors occurred during the Obama administration, Trump’s Zero Tolerance Immigration has resulted in a significant increase of immigrant detention, including minors, for prolonged periods of time. Minors often arrive unaccompanied or are separated from their families as the result of the new policy. Records suggest that 12,800 minors were detained in 2018, and 3,000 of these minors were detained in tents, forced to live in inhumane conditions. Given the significant increase in the retention of minors, the Health and Human Resource Services has had to hire a number of daycare contractors to provide supervision.

 Although the number of incidents is startling, the numbers likely represent an underestimation of sexual assaults, given that the majority of sexual crimes are not reported. In the case of sexual assault, the abused minors are often threatened by the perpetrator, convincing them to stay quiet and not report the incident. Children also may have difficulty identifying these experiences as sexual abuse or even understanding what is happening to them.

 Adult immigrant detainees are often sexually abused as well. The adult detainees are offered freedom in exchange for forced sexual encounters or threatened with deportation if sexual favors are not given. Immigrants are a very vulnerable population, and unaccompanied minors even more so.

 ICE claims zero tolerance for sexual abuse crimes, but the above figures suggest a  flawed system. These unaccompanied children are especially susceptible to possible abuses within the system. There is a vast difference in power between the child and the adult staff or even more mature minors. Many have been victims of abuses and are attempting to escape the cycle of abuse, only to find themselves in a continuation of the cycle.

 Subpoenas are now being issued to individuals in Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is sending a message that the government must accept accountability for the sexual abuse of detained immigrant children. When asked about the sexual assaults of unaccompanied migrant children, sophomore Katie Herring said, “What is happening to these children in ICE custody is something that isn’t talked about enough, and it should be. It doesn’t matter if they’re immigrants or ‘Americans,’ they should be treated with respect because, let’s be real, if it was a white American child, everyone would’ve lost their mind if they were sexually assaulted.”

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Izzi Graham, Staff Reporter

Hey there Cat Talk readers! My name is Izzi Graham, and I am a sophomore here at Millbrook. I'm really looking forward to my first year writing for the...

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Sexual assault reported by thousands of migrant children