Children who flee to the United States from abusive situations often recount accounts of physical and sexual abuse in American immigration and treatment centers. Many children who end up in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and other government child welfare organizations, tell of constant fear and terror at the hands of both adults and children in US asylum camps. Some children, while in immigration custody, also may have been sexually abused or witnessed abuse in their home country. Many children who speak of this suffer no physical or psychological effects from the experience, but many are fearful of leaving the country and of returning to their home country because of the fear and danger they believe they will encounter there.
An example of a story of children who speak of fear and betrayal in US immigration centers can be found in the book “ICE Beds: Children’s stories of abuse and trauma in U.S. Immigration Shelters” by Latessa Wright. Ms. Wright is an advocate for children in immigration custody, and was a victim of child abuse as a young girl. She writes about her story in this book, which is a must-read for anyone who is concerned with the safety of children in U.S. facilities and who wants to help children in need. Ms. Wright describes how she was able to escape from an abusive situation in order to seek safety in the United States, after spending three years in state and federal prison as a minor female juvenile. She speaks of the fear and terror that she felt while enduring physical and sexual abuse in a situation that would have had dire consequences for her if she had remained in her abusive situation.
In another case, a seven-year old girl from Ecuador who recently arrived in the US is being cared for at a private children’s center. Her parents, apparently immigrating originally from Quito, Ecuador, brought her with them when they arrived in the US to live with relatives. They seem to have taken good care of her, feeding and clothing her when they could not afford to, but in November of last year, the social worker who was supposed to be caring for the little girl discovered that the girl had been abused. According to the social worker, the girl had been kept wet and had been denied proper bathroom facilities. A photo given to the social worker by the Ecuadorian parents allegedly shows the injuries that the girl endured from a prolonged period of abuse.
A similar case came to light in California where an illegal alien mother of six was abused by the female caregiver with whom she was living. According to the social worker, the abuse came to light when the mother complained to the local police about the abuse, which the authorities did not do anything about. The social worker also spoke to the abuse victim’s mother, who told her that her daughter had been given drugs and was given food by the social worker, despite her complaints. The mother of the victims was also allegedly kept under surveillance by the social worker, who followed her home from work and tried to make contact with her whenever she went out.
The children tell of fear, filth and neglect in US asylum seeker centers do not stop when abuse comes. The children have alleged physical and sexual abuse, and one particular incident in which the little girl was locked in a room and beaten so badly that the skin on her back was completely ripped. In another case, a child was kept locked in a room with his two sisters, ages four and six. According to the children, their mother locked them in a room for days and would not let them out. When they were finally rescued by police, the little girl was only wearing a rag and had badly bruised skin, indicating that she had been kept in the lock-up for over seven hours. The American Embassy has confirmed the reports, but the children are still in shock and the police are looking into the matter to verify whether the allegations are true.
Another case that has shocked and disappointed the American people is that of the Central Park Mafia boss, Richard Massey. He was found to be hiding hoard of loot in a car and fled to Canada, where he received diplomatic immunity. Canadian authorities denied him entry, saying that they have no idea if he was trying to apply for refugee status or not. The American Embassy did not help in the matter, and Canadian authorities did not take further action or press charges against Massey. This goes to show just how weak the American government is in terms of tackling abuse and its aftermath.