Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, June 13, 2014
Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said Friday that many of the illegal immigrant children his agents are encountering trying to slip across the U.S.-Mexico border have never even seen a doctor before.
He described scenes of Border Patrol agents changing diapers and heating baby formula in order to care for some of the youngest children, and said agents are being asked to do things way beyond their skill set–particularly for so many of the agents who are young, single men.
The commissioner was pushing back against a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and several immigrant-rights groups this week charging that agents and officers have been neglecting or abusing many of the children, verbally or physically.
Mr. Kerlikowske said he’s seen pictures of a birthday cake agents brought in for an 11-year-old who, the commissioner said, had never had a birthday cake before.
He described a number of firsts for some of the children–including the medical checkups.
He said most of the children “have never been treated by a doctor of a clinician until they’ve been encountered by us.”
An internal Border Patrol memo from last month pointed to a number of problems, including the inoculations the children require.
One Border Patrol agent this week told The Times that agents trained to patrol the border were instead doing “babysitting” guard duty.
That agent said some of the more extreme reports included having to separate teenaged boys and girls trying to engage in sex.