DHS Watchdog Finds ‘Dangerous Overcrowding’ in Border Patrol Facilities, Urges 'Immediate' Action
Should the U.S. close its migrant detention facilities?
by Causes | 7.3.19
What’s the story?
- The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog is urging DHS to “take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults” in Texas.
- The DHS Office of Inspector General publicly released its findings — including photos documenting the overcrowding — on Tuesday, following visits to five Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.
- “During the week of June 10, 2019, we traveled to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and again observed serious overcrowding and prolonged detention in border patrol facilities requiring immediate attention,” Acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello wrote in her scathing report.
"We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of DHS agents and officers, and to those detained," the report said.
- The report comes amid growing outrage over detention conditions for unauthorized immigrants.
Quotes from the report
- The OIG found children at three of the five border patrol facilities were not given access to showers and clean clothes. In two facilities, minors had not been provided hot meals until inspectors arrived.
- Border agents are required to respect detainees’ “religious and other dietary restrictions.” However, “many single adults had been receiving only bologna sandwiches,” which meant some “were becoming constipated and required medical attention.”
- Some single adults were “held in standing room only conditions for a week and at another, some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells.”
"Senior managers at several facilities raised security concerns for their agents and the detainees. For example, one called the situation ‘a ticking time bomb.’”
- "We ended our site visit at one Border Patrol facility early because our presence was agitating an already difficult situation. Specifically, when detainees observed us, they banged on the cell windows, shouted, pressed notes to the window with their time in custody, and gestured to evidence of their time in custody (e.g., beards)."
What is DHS’ response?
- DHS said the surge of unauthorized immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has led to an “acute and worsening crisis.”
“The current migration flow and the resulting humanitarian crisis are rapidly overwhelming the ability of the Federal Government to respond."
What do you think?
Should DHS "take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults”? How? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Courtesy DHS)
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