The poor treatment of migrant children at the hands of U.S. border agents in recent months extends beyond Texas to include allegations of sexual assault and retaliation for protests, according to dozens of accounts by children held in Arizona collected by government case managers and obtained by NBC News.
A 15-year-old girl from Honduras held in Yuma, Arizona, described a large, bearded officer putting his hands inside her bra, pulling down her underwear and groping her as part of what was meant to be a routine pat down in front of other immigrants and officers.
A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy said after he and others in his cell complained about the taste of the water and food they were given, CBP agents took the mats out of their cell in retaliation, forcing them to sleep on hard concrete.
In a statement about the Yuma allegations, a CBP spokesperson said the agency “treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct. … The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated.”