More than 100 people, including 2 young children, thought to be illegal immigrants from Mexico have been discovered living in a squalid suspected "stash house" outside of Houston. Police raided the single-family home and found people reportedly sitting on top of one another and surrounded by "filthy" conditions that included trash bags piled high and overflowing with old clothing, a mattress on the floor, just one bathroom with a partially working toilet, and absolutely no hot water. In addition to finding 94 men who were dressed in their undergarments with no shoes on, cops also discovered 15 women -- including a 24-year-old who is pregnant and has a 7-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy -- lying around in several small rooms.
Police believe several people found in the home are part of a human smuggling operation. The house received attention after the pregnant mom called authorities to report that the man who was paid to bring them across the border refused to let them escape the house until he received more money. As a result, five men have been arrested.
According to some of the women in the house, they had been there for as few as 3 days and as long as 15 days. They reportedly didn't have enough food or water to sustain them and many hadn't slept -- which isn't at all surprising given the fact that they were crammed into a 1,500-square-foot space.
I can't imagine, as a mom, how horrific the conditions in my home country would have to be for me to risk my children's health by secretly crossing the border to bring them into a strange, totally unfamiliar environment. Rather than judge these folks, I feel it's important we try to understand how heartbreaking it must be to so desperately want a better life for ourselves and our children that we're willing to live in squalor while here.
I hope authorities can find a safe and clean shelter for these children until they decide on the best, and most lawful action, to take.
What do you believe should happen to the people and children found living in this house?
Image via EdmondMeinfelder/Flickr