Texas Border Patrol Facilities Are Dangerously Overcrowded, According To Recent Report
By Kelsey Marie
Detention centers for migrant families and children in Texas have been going through horrible conditions, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) internal watchdog.
A new report released Tuesday says there is “serious” overcrowding. Children are going days without hot meals and detainees are pleading to not return to their cells.
The report includes photos showing overcrowded cells after five Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in south Texas were inspected in June.
“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”, says the report.
More than 50 women were stuffed into a cell which is meant to hold 40 male juveniles at the Rio Grande facility.
In another facility, which is meant for 41 detainees, 71 men were crammed inside.
It was found by the watchdog inspector that detainees were in custody for an extended amount of time. More than 2,500 unaccompanied children across all of the facilities inspected, had been held in custody for more than three days.
According to CBS News, holding children for more than three days is a violation of the Flores court settlement that governs the care of minors in U.S. custody.
There were about 50 children under the age of 7 who had been held in custody for over two weeks.
The inspector general found that three of the five facilities visited did not provide the detained children with clean clothing nor access to showers.
The report also documents migrants suffering from constipation because they were only given bologna sandwiches to eat. Most of the detainees had not showered and were instead given cleaning wipes.
Detainees began purposely clogging their toilets with socks so they could be released from their cells.
Minors are supposed to be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours of being in custody by Border Patrol.
In addition, migrant families should not be detained for more than 20 days and single adults should be transferred to ICE facilities which oversee long-term detention.
The inspector notes that ICE and HHS have been going through a decline in bed capacity and resources over the past few months because of the surge in Central American families and unaccompanied children heading towards the U.S.-Mexican border.
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.