An official representing the Trump administration argued in court that it should not be required to provide toothbrushes, soap and even proper beds to detained children at the US-Mexico border.
During a Court of Appeals hearing in San Francisco on Tuesday, government lawyer Sarah Fabian maintained that it was "safe and sanitary" for children to sleep on the concrete floor in detention facilities.
Her comments were made as attorneys representing detained children at the border claimed that the government is not abiding by the requirements of a 1997 settlement agreement which set a framework for decent humane treatment of detained minors.
The settlement specified that children must be housed in "safe and sanitary conditions", saying that amongst other things, they should at least be provided with soap and toothbrushes.
The three judges present at the hearing appeared pretty shocked at Fabian's comments, as Judge William Fletcher asked:
Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do something other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?
I find it inconceivable that the government would say that that is safe and sanitary.
US circuit judge Marsha Berzon followed up by asking:
You’re really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn’t a question of safe and sanitary conditions?
Meanwhile, Fabian stumbled through much of her argument, responding with a lot of "well...maybe's"
A Trump official tried to argue that detained children don’t need soap, toothbrushes, or beds to be ‘safe and sanit… https://t.co/eecN9kDitd