The DHS inspector general documented overcrowding of families on June 10, 2019, at Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, Station.

The DHS inspector general documented overcrowding of families on June 10, 2019, at Border Patrol’s McAllen, Texas, Station. DHS OIG

IG Issues Alert for 'Dangerous' Conditions at Detention Facilities That Require 'Immediate Attention'

Migrants have been denied showers, hot food and forced into standing room only conditions for long periods of time.

The Homeland Security Department’s watchdog sounded the alarm on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants and the conditions at the facilities in which they are detained, calling on management to address “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention” in violation of federal standards. 

The Homeland Security inspector general issued a management alert to the department, citing a series of issues that “require immediate attention.” The IG found severely overcrowded facilities where some detainees were in standing room only conditions for a week, while others languished in cramped cells for a month or longer. The conditions posed health and safety risks to both detainees and department staff, the investigators said, with one senior manager calling the situation a “ticking time bomb.”

The situation at one facility was so tense the IG cut the visit short: "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)."

Nearly 43% of the detainees held in Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley sector the IG visited remained in the agency’s custody for more than 72 hours, violating Homeland Security standards. Nearly one in five of the 8,000 migrants held by the Border Patrol were detained for more than 10 days. 

Detainees are normally transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Health and Human Services Department within three days, but those agencies reported their facilities are at capacity and therefore could not accept transfers from Customs and Border Protection. The administration has for months warned that an influx of migrants, especially families and unaccompanied children, has exhausted resources at Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and have pushed government facilities to their breaking points. President Trump this week signed into law an emergency supplemental funding bill passed with bipartisan support to boost capacity at HHS and provide additional humanitarian aid. 

Nearly one-third of children at the facilities were held longer than 72 hours, including 50 unaccompanied children under the age of seven who were held by the Border Patrol for more than one week. Children at three of the five facilities the IG visited had no access to showers, and limited access to a change of clothes, while two facilities did not provide the children with hot meals until the week the investigators arrived. 

Most single adults in CBP custody had no access to showers despite some remaining in the facilities for a month. Those individuals received only bologna sandwiches to eat, which created digestive problems. 

Homeland Security officials pointed to the significant uptick in migrants, calling the situation “an acute and worsening crisis.” The department noted it had added two tents that could hold 500 migrants each in the Rio Grande Valley and was working on setting up a third. DHS said it boosted medical resources and saved thousands of lives with emergency services. 

The IG acknowledged the difficult circumstances under which the department is operating and commended it for the steps it had taken, but remained “concerned that DHS is not taking sufficient measures to address prolonged detention in CBP custody among single adults.” 

Department officials said that absent further congressional action to reform immigration laws, the situation will “not only continue, but also escalate.” 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.