By Sam Levin, The Guardian, October 29, 2019
Tom K Wong’s world shattered at age 16 in 1998 when his parents told him he was undocumented. The Riverside, California, teenager thought his life was over.
Now 37, Wong is one of the prominent scholars in the US on immigration, most recently uncovering abuses inside detention centers in his latest University of California, San Diego research. The political science professor, whose family migrated from Hong Kong when he was two and overstayed their visas, released groundbreaking research on Tuesday on asylum seekers, exposing violence and suffering at the border as the Trump administration is escalating its crackdown on migrants.
Wong surveyed more than 600 asylum seekers affected by Donald Trump’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy, which has forced tens of thousands to return to Mexico while their cases advance. Roughly, 85% reported that immigration detention facilities failed to provide adequate food and water and that they were unable to sleep due to overcrowding, cold temperatures and other conditions. Only 20% reported being able to take care of basic hygiene, such as showering and brushing their teeth.