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People Are Bringing Diapers And Soap To Border Camp Kids And Being Turned Away

With reports of horrific living conditions for asylum-seeking kids being held at the border overtaking the nation's discourse, some people are trying to help. Ordinary citizens, determined to prevent unnecessary suffering among children, are stepping up.

However, as The Texas Tribune reports, their efforts are being rejected.

Kids being held at the border face some unimaginably harsh conditions.

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Attorneys touring one facility near El Paso found children as young as 10 caring for toddlers because there was no one else to look after them. At least 15 kids had the flu.

They said they were being fed uncooked frozen food and had gone weeks without a bath or clean clothes.

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"In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity," said lawyer Holly Cooper, according to HuffPost.

This comes as the Justice Department argued in front of a judge that the government doesn't have to supply things like soap and toothpaste.

Suggesting that because such details aren't specifically laid out in the relevant case law, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian argued that soap, toothpaste, and blankets aren't required to provide a "safe and sanitary" facilities.

Well, a handful of citizens decided to try to take up that slack after reading about the conditions at the facility in Clint, Texas.

The Texas Tribune | Armando Martinez Photography

Austin Savage and five of his friends loaded up an SUV with $340 worth of diapers, wipes, soap, and toys for the kids, and headed over to the facility from nearby El Paso, The Texas Tribune reported.

However, their care package was turned away.

The lobby was closed and any Border Patrol agents in the area ignored them.

The Texas Tribune | Armando Martinez Photography

Savage and his group found another donation simply left at the door, a plastic bag containing soap and toothpaste.

A note reading "I heard y'all need soap & toothpaste for kids. Maybe more will be on its way soon," was attached.

Savage said that he had been warned earlier that his donation would likely be rejected.

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"A good friend of mine is an immigration attorney, and he warned us that we were going to get rejected," he said. "We were aware of that, but it's just the idea of doing something as opposed to passively allowing this to occur."

Even state Rep. Terry Canales tried to find a way to donate.

He wrote to Border Patrol officials asking where he could send a donation, but was told that the Border Patrol can't accept donations. As a Border Patrol official explained, it would be illegal for them to do so.

Those donations would violate the Antideficiency Act, the official said.

They can't spend money or accept donations that aren't approved by Congress. "It's partially a constitutional thing about Congress controlling the purse and only being able to spend money that Congress gives, but it's also ethics," the official said.

"Without a change in law, DHS, CPB, and Border Patrol cannot accept those private donations."

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Despite the fact that various individuals and groups are ready and willing to get these children the resources that they need, they are prevented from doing so because of this legal roadblock.

For Savage and his friends, that meant packing up their supplies and heading home.

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But he and others will try again, and failing that, they'll donate to groups that are helping to house families detained and separated by ICE.

"In an ideal world, the facility would accept it, so we're going to ask with all sincerity that they do," he said.

"Even if we get rejected, at least we made the effort."

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"Hopefully they say yes, but we want to show that these are not circumstances preventing these children from being taken care of, but a policy."

h/t The Texas Tribune