A border patrol facility in Texas is under heavy scrutiny after a teenage girl was recently found there with a premature baby. Advocates for the rights of immigrants say the facility, located in McAllen, Texas, was expected to allow physicians onto the site to assess the health condition of the immigrants detained there. It is unclear at this time whether or not the health assessments have already taken place.
The mother is 17 years old and began her journey in Guatemala. She had an emergency C-section in her home country in May. This was a month before she arrived at the border checkpoint in Texas.
Advocates report the teenage mother was in great pain and seated in a wheelchair when they were allowed to visit with her. The tiny baby was resting in her lap. The advocates who saw the baby say it is obvious the preemie belongs in a neonatal unit.
Agents working at the Texas facility say they are overwhelmed with the number of migrants arriving at the border checkpoint. The Trump Administration has been vocal with its belief that facilities like the one in McAllen are in need of increased funding to handle their current workload.
The teen mother is included in a group of more than 56,000 minors, unaccompanied by parents, who have shown up at the nation’s southern border in the last eight months. Eleven thousand of these ‘unaccompanied minors’ reached the border in May. This represented a significant increase over the number of these minors that showed up at the border in April.
Minors who show up at the border are processed there by Customs agents before being turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services. The children are held in various locations in the United States and HHS is running out of space to house the minors.
The plan is for the children to be turned over to family members or sponsors. But critics of the process say the president’s administration has imposed restrictions to slow down the process of connecting these children with the adults who will care for them.
It is common for teenage girls to show up at border points like the one in McAllen, Texas, pregnant or with an infant child in their arms. President Trump says adults in Central America are responsible for sending their children with smugglers and placing them in harm’s way.
A McAllen, Texas border official says that all girls arriving at the facility older than ten years of age are given pregnancy tests once they are processed.