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Women and children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the U.S.-Mexico border are regularly held in freezing cells and suffer other harsh treatment, according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.
The report, entitled "In the Freezer: Abusive Conditions for Women and Children in U.S. Immigration Holding Cells," was released on Wednesday and documents over 100 cases of immigrants being held beyond the three-day period recommended in CBP guidelines in frigid holding cells.
Often, the immigrants were only given mylar blankets, sheets made of heat-resistant plastic typically found in First Aid kits, for warmth. The cells were without bunks, mattresses or other amenities for sleeping.
"It was cold, really cold … There weren't any mats. We just slept on the floor," a Guatemalan woman identified as Carolina R told HRW.
Furthermore, CBP officers would often make women and children discard clothing down to a single layer.
"They didn't want me to keep both my blouse and my sweater. I had to pick one to keep, so I chose my sweater. They didn't explain why," Adela R, a woman who spent three nights in a holding cell with her infant child in Nogales, Arizona, said in the report.
The immigrants were held without access to showers. In some cases, the women detained were not given sanitary pads.
The report has prompted concerns by immigrant rights activists and groups.
Read the full article about the harsh conditions for women and children on the U.S. border by Creede Newton at aljazeera.com.