A recent investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s independent watchdog found that inhumane conditions are widespread among migrant detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border. The report detailed standing-room-only cells, children without showers or hot meals, and detainees clamoring for release.
In June inspectors from the department visited five Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The investigators found children with few spare clothes and no access to laundry. Many immigrants were only allowed to use wet wipes to clean themselves and were only given bologna sandwiches to eat, causing constipation and other health issues. Doctors in Texas who care for children released from these facilities said that they were surprised more had not died from poor treatment yet. Since September six migrant children have perished in federal custody or shortly after they were released.
The inspectors also reported severe overcrowding, with migrants banging on their cell doors for help as the federal officials passed by. “At one facility, 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,” said the report.
House Democrats are furious over the manner in which immigrants are being treated at the border. Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Rep. Elijah Cummings(D-Maryland) demanded on Tuesday that Kevin McAleenan, head of the DHS, and Mark Mogan, the newly appointed leader of CBP, come to Washington to discuss the investigator’s report. “There seems to be open contempt for the rule of law and for basic human decency,” Mr. Cummings said. “The committee needs to hear directly from the heads of these agencies as soon as possible in light of the almost daily reports of abuse and defiance.”
These allegations come on the heels of ProPublica’s report about a CBP Facebook group in which members mocked the deaths of migrants and attacked Latinx lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez