I was in the first cell for seven days, sleeping with no mattress. It is hard to sleep when you don’t have a mattress. I then came down with the flu. I then went into the flu cell for seven days. When you are in the flu cell, you also sleep on the floor, but you have a mattress. There were 21 other kids in that space with the flu. I had a fever in there and I was shaking. Some of the other kids were vomiting. They all had fevers. No one was taking care of the kids with the flu. … We were not allowed to leave the flu cell, ever. It was very boring. I did nothing to entertain myself, nor was anything offered. It was sad, very sad. I felt locked up and closed in.
About three days ago I got a fever. They moved me alone to a flu cell. There is no one to take care of you there. They just give you pills twice a day. I also am having an allergic reaction all over my skin. My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up. Two times they gave me a pill for it but not anymore.
Congress should ensure that children are being held in CBP custody for as little time as possible and certainly no longer than the 72-hour limit under US law. US authorities should release unaccompanied children to relatives or a responsible sponsor as expeditiously as possible.
Congress should urgently demand ongoing transparency on the length of time and conditions under which children are being held in DHS and ORR facilities.
While children are in DHS or ORR custody, they should be held in what is commonly recognized as safe and sanitary conditions, including being provided adequate bedding, hot food, access to proper hygiene, and medical care.
State-licensed professionals specially trained in the screening and care of children—not CBP agents—should immediately be deployed to the border to evaluate children’s needs and conduct all screenings that occur before a child is released or sent to ORR. These child welfare professionals should also coordinate with state authorities if there are ever allegations of abuse or mistreatment by accompanying family members or by immigration authorities. CBP should not be entrusted to routinely make and enforce family separation decisions.
Congress should prohibit CBP from separating children from parents and extended family members such as grandmothers, aunts, and older siblings – people who are in many cases their caregivers – if the separation is not in the child’s best interest.
Congress should fund community-based alternatives to detention for children who cannot quickly be placed with family members. That includes foster care arrangements and small, state-licensed group homes for teens, with appropriate supervision by social workers.
CBP should develop an access policy for independent oversight and allow attorneys access to migrants in its custody.
 Stipulated Settlement Agreement, Flores v. Meese, 2:85-cv-4544 (C.D. Cal. 1997).
 8 U.S.C. § 1232(b)(3).
 8 U.S.C. § 1232(c)(2)(A).
 Our team of interviewers consisted of Dr. Nancy Ewen Wang, M.D., of Stanford University; Professors Warren Binford of Willamette University, Bill Ong Hing of the University of San Francisco, Kathleen O’Gorman of Illinois Wesleyan University; Nicole Austin-Hillery, Michael Bochenek, of Human Rights Watch; Elora Mukherjee of Columbia Law School, Natasha Quiroga of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Chapman Noam, who worked for years as a paralegal at the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law; and Katherine Hagan, a student pursuing her doctorate in psychology.
 Human Rights Watch, “In the Freezer: Abusive Conditions for Women and Children in US Immigration Holding Cells.” February 28, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/02/28/freezer/abusive-conditions-women-a....
 For a helpful reconstruction of the Clint Border Patrol Station’s detention areas, please see recent New York Times reporting based on our interviews and interviews with Border Patrol agents. Simon Romero et al., “Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.” July 6, 2019, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/07/06/us/migrants-border-patrol....
 Federal law requires that any federal agency with an “unaccompanied alien child” in custody transfer the child to the Department of Health and Human Services “not later than 72 hours after determining that such child is an unaccompanied alien child.” 8 U.S.C. § 1232(b)(3) (emphasis added).
 The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides that children have the right to have their best interests assessed and taken into account as a primary consideration in all actions or decisions that concern them. CRC, art. 3(1). The United States has signed but not yet ratified the convention, meaning that it is prohibited from acting contrary to the object and purpose of the treaty. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors state adherence to the convention, has identified the “best interests” principle as one of four general principles for interpreting and implementing all rights of the child, and applies it as a dynamic concept that requires an assessment appropriate to the specific context. Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 14 (2013) on the Right of the Child to Have His or Her Best Interests Taken as a Primary Consideration, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/GC/14 (May 29, 2014), para. 1. Although the United States has yet to ratify the CRC, the US Supreme Court has recognized its “nearly universal” acceptance. See Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 576–78 (2005) (noting that the universal ratification of the CRC demonstrates international agreement with the laws contained therein). The Court has also recognized its persuasive authority. See id. at 578 (“The opinion of the world community, while not controlling…does provide respected and significant confrmation…”).
 8 U.S.C. § 1232.
 8 U.S.C. § 1232.
 8 U.S.C. § 1232.
 Human Rights Watch observation of immigration court hearings, El Paso, Texas, May 8, 2019.
 Human Rights Watch, “We Can’t Help You Here: US Returns of Asylum Seekers to Mexico.” July 2, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/07/02/we-cant-help-you-here/us-returns-a....
 “A juvenile may temporarily remain with a non-parental adult family member where: 1) the family relationship has been vetted to the extent feasible, and 2) the CBP supervisor determines that remaining with the non-parental adult family member is appropriate, under the totality of the circumstances.” National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention and Search, §5.6.