US border agents have physically and sexually abused over 100 migrant children in their custody, according to a scathing new report from the from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic .
The report, based on thousands of Government documents obtained through the freedom of information act, details accusations from 116 unaccompanied migrant children in temporary US detention centers.
Most of the children were coming to the U.S. from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Press TV reports: Some minors accused US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents of punching or kicking them and running them over with vehicles. Others said they were tased and verbally abused by officers.
Children also complained of being deprived of edible food and water, held in freezing cells, touched inappropriately by officers and threatened with rape or death.
“Migrant children long have reported varied mistreatment in CBP custody, including sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, and the deprivation of basic needs such as food, water, and emergency medical care,” the ACLU said in a summary of the report.
The report accuses the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of violating federal law by not reporting the alleged abuses to the FBI.
The accusations stem from 30,000 pages of records relating to abuses between 2009 and 2014.
“These records document a pattern of intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, refusal of medical services, and improper deportation,” the report said. “These failures have allowed a culture of impunity to flourish within CBP.”
The DHS has faced scrutiny for covering up alleged abuses in the past. In 2014, the department investigated allegations from the ACLU of abuse against unaccompanied minors, concluding that it could not “substantiate any of the allegations.”
In the new report, the ACLU said the past investigations by the DHS “indicate systemic failures to meaningfully investigate the allegations.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April directing Defense Secretary James Mattis to support the DHS in combating a “drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border.”