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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has inquired about obtaining a set of striking drawings migrant children made that depict their time in US custody after crossing the border.
The stick-figure drawings, done in dark green marker, show children behind bars at Border Patrol’s oft-criticized detention facilities. The drawings were first reported by CNN, which obtained them from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Smithsonian told CNN in a statement that it had contacted both CNN and the pediatricians’ association as part of an “exploratory process,” but that it doesn’t “speculate on potential collecting” before it formally acquires them.
“The museum has a long commitment to telling the complex and complicated history of the United States and to documenting that history as it unfolds, such as it did following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and as it does with political campaigns,” the statement said.
Read more: Heartbreaking drawings by detained migrant children depict them being held behind bars in US detention facilities
The facilities and the US government’s treatment of migrant children have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, after a team of lawyers reported that hundreds of children were detained in a Texas facility for days or weeks on end without adequate access to food and basic hygiene.
One lawyer who visited the facility told INSIDER last month that many of the children were sick, forced to care of younger children, unable to change their own clothing, and for the most part unable to contact their parents or relatives.
Customs and Border Protection agency officials have responded to the allegations by agreeing that the facilities are inappropriate for children.
The AAP told CNN the drawings were made by three 10- and 11-year-old children who had recently been released from detention. The children were asked by staff at a humanitarian shelter to depict their time in custody.
“The fact that the drawings are so realistic and horrific gives us a view into what these children have experienced,” Dr. Colleen Kraft, the former AAP president, told CNN. “When a child draws this, it’s telling us that child felt like he or she was in jail.”
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