Things That Matter

These Kids Were Released From US Custody But They’re Sharing The Trauma They Experienced In Their Drawings

Word has been spreading fast about the conditions migrants face inside ICE and DHS detention centers. Thanks to a recent visit by AOC and other members of Congress, the cat’s out of the bag.

There have been reports of migrants being told to drink water from toilets, abuse from Border Patrol agents, women being denied medication, and so much more.

But it’s perhaps the news of children suffering in these migrant prisons that shocks us the most. And now, one group of children who were recently released are sharing their experiences with the world – through art.

Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from ⁦US custody.

Credit: @thehill / Twitter

Pediatricians recently released heartbreaking drawings, completed by children under the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that show the grim realities of what these young migrants are facing as they’re being separated from their parents.

Doctors with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) were given the drawings, which show people behind bars and in cages, by a social worker at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

The pictures were drawn last week by unaccompanied 10 and 11-year-old migrant children after being released from ⁦Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. They were obtained by NBC News which said they were provided to the AAP by a social worker in Texas.

Since being released by the CBP, the migrant children have been staying at the Catholic Charities Center.

Credit: @kylegriffin1 / Twitter

It’s run by Sister Norma Pimentel and where many families go to “get their first shower, clean clothes and a hot meal after arriving in the U.S.”

While under the center’s care, the children were asked by a mental health clinician specializing in Latino child trauma at the center last week to depict their time under CBP custody on canvases, according to the organization.

Three of those illustrations — drawn by a 10-year-old boy from Guatemala, an 11-year-old from Guatemala, and another 10-year-old child — were then brought to the attention of the AAP due to their particularly alarming content.

Here’s one of the heartbreaking pictures…

Credit: @AmerAcadPeds / Twitter

Dr. Collen Kraft, a former president of the AAP, said the drawings were incredibly heartbreaking, in part due to these children feeling like they were behind bars.

“The fact that the drawings are so realistic and horrific gives us a view into what these children have experienced,” Kraft told the outlet. “When a child draws this, it’s telling us that the child felt like he or she was in jail.”

AAP says it was not immediately clear which CBP facilities housed these children. They also mentioned in an interview with CNN that they are working with CBP officers to advise on properly screening and caring for children in their custody, but have made little progress after multiple meetings.

Reactions on Twitter have been swift and full of shock, heartbreak, and anger.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Some users took to Twitter to call what these kids went through what many are starting to call them – concentration camps.

You have Jews coming out and saying they stand by the use of the phrase because their community’s trauma from World War II helps them recognize the signs.

While others pointed out the disturbing reality that many of these kids may never be the same after the trauma they’ve suffered.

Credit: @CNN

And, unfortunately, there’s little surprise there. I mean many of these kids have literally been kept in cages, separated from their families, denied basic necessities like tooth brushes and soap.

While many just summed up how most of us are feeling about the news…

Credit: @TIME

I mean seriously, these are young children. Separated from their families. And they’re suffering greatly because of the Trump administration’s inhumane and dangerous immigration policies.

The alarming drawings come one week after a heartwrenching photograph surfaced of a father and daughter’s dead bodies washed up on a riverbank after they attempted to cross the border from Mexico to the United States together.

Like the children’s illustrations from this week, the graphic photo has been used to highlight the cruel realities that many families are currently facing as they put their lives on the line to seek asylum from the violence and poverty in their home nations.

READ: More Migrant Children Were Separated From Their Families Than The US Government Admitted To

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