Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.

Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex.

An out-of-the-way border station in the desert outside of El Paso has become the epicenter of outrage over the Trump administration’s policies on the southwest border.

Protesters outside the Clint station on July 4.  [Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman / The New York Times]

Protesters outside the Clint station on July 4. [Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman / The New York Times]

CLINT, Tex. — Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town’s main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.

In a joint project by The New York Times and the El Paso Times, reporters Simon Romero, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Manny Fernandez, Daniel Borunda, Aaron Montes and Caitlin Dickerson offer an interactive look inside the controversial migrant detention center in Clint, Texas. It’s well worth a read.

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