12-year-old migrant describes stay at Texas Border Patrol station: 'It was ugly in there'

A video still shows a 12-year-old migrant girl being interviewed by her lawyer.
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Associated Press)

A 12-year-old migrant girl from Central America has described what it was like during her nearly two-week stay at the notorious Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, telling her lawyers that children were not given enough food to eat and were "treated badly."

In a taped interview obtained by The Associated Press, the girl described in Spanish sleeping on the floor, being served food that tasted "very bad," and hearing screams from other children; AP promised not to reveal where the girl is from or her name, for her family's safety. Her attorneys said she arrived in the United States on May 23, accompanied by her aunt and 6-year-old sister. The sisters were immediately separated from their aunt, who is still in detention. Their mother is in the U.S., having arrived four years ago after she escaped an abusive husband; the girls and their aunt followed this year, after he threatened them.

The girl said the kids were not able to play or bathe, and the youngest ones "cried for their mother or their father. They cried for their aunt. They missed them. They cried and they were locked up." The Border Patrol agents were "mean to us," leaving some of the kids unable to sleep. "It was ugly in there," she added.

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The girl and her sister were moved to Minnesota, and her lawyer Taylor Levy said their mother, who applied for asylum, flew from Texas to pick them up on June 3, after a Border Patrol official said they had been hospitalized multiple times with the flu. The reunion was "incredibly difficult," Levy told AP, because the girls were "highly, highly traumatized." Catherine Garcia

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.