At a detention center, kids have gone hungry and without beds. They’ve seen outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox. For those watching, this is what a national disgrace looks like: Our view

On a subject as fraught as immigration, there’s plenty of room for disagreement about border security, workplace enforcement, paths to citizenship and other policies. But when the topic is the well-being of kids crammed into federal immigration centers on the southern border, there ought to be no room for debate.

For young children, toddlers and infants guilty only of being carried or led into the United States, it’s unconscionable for federal officials to banish them for days or weeks to squalor.

At the facility in Clint, Texas, according to a report by The New York Times and the El Paso Times (which is part of the USA TODAY Network), children have gone hungry and without hygiene, beds, adults to care for them. They’ve been buffeted by outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox.

Adult migrants, many fleeing Central American violence for asylum in the USA, are crammed for days or weeks in holding cells designed for a fraction of their number. The stench in standing-room-only conditions with temperatures in the 80s is a mix of unwashed bodies, untreated diarrhea and urine. That’s according to the Department of Homeland Security’s own internal watchdog, known as an inspector general.

For those watching, this is what a national disgrace looks like.

And how has President Donald Trump responded? With his characteristic deflection and denial. (“We’re doing a fantastic job under the circumstances.”) Border officials concede it’s a crisis, albeit exaggerated by monitors and media, and they’re simply overwhelmed by a 124% increase in migrants over the previous year.

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