ICE has released 12 of the 16 infants under a year old that were detained with their mothers at the South Texas Family Residential Center an hour South of San Antonio, CBS is reporting
Last week, immigrant-rights groups sent a letter
to the Department of Homeland Security, demanding the release of the infants and citing concerns about lack of medical care, baby food and clean water. The status of the remaining four babies held at the detention site in the town of Dilley is unclear.
“Every mother I spoke to said that her child was sick in some way,” Katy Murdza, an activist with the American Immigration Council told CBS. “It’s just really hard seeing all of these very small babies in a detention setting.”
In a media statement, DHS disputed the groups' claims, saying the mothers and babies have access to comprehensive medical care, including 24-hour emergency services.
"ICE ensures that these residential centers operate in an open environment, which includes medical care, play rooms, social workers, educational services and access to legal counsel," the agency also said.
The outcry over the infant detentions comes as federal immigration officials are dealing with increased scrutiny over deaths of children in its custody.
Both 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo and 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of illnesses in ICE custody in December. And, last week, reports surfaced
of a Honduran woman who delivered a stillborn baby while in a South Texas ICE detention site.
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