The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General has just released a report and a plethora of shocking photos that depict how extremely dire situation has become for detained migrants in Texas near the border.
The internal government watchdog report says the five detention facilities that the Homeland Security inspectors investigated during their visit to the Rio Grande valley last month had such harsh conditions that they felt led to speak out about the “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention” happening there.
That particular region has had more than 220,000 border apprehensions since October 2018 and as you’ll see in the few pictures below, they are completely overcrowded and therefore unable to provide humane conditions for the individuals there.
This photo shows 88 adult males in one single cell that is supposed to have a MAX capacity of 41. The Office of the Inspector General, which observed the centers on June 12, 2019, discovered overcrowded conditions and no signal that there were plans to move them.
Investigators reported that 8,000 detainees were being held in custody by Border Patrol and nearly half have been there well beyond the 72-hour detention standard.
The scathing report says that managers in the facility expressed “security concerns” for both detainees and workers, with accounts of migrants refusing to go back into their cells and some even attempting to escape the treacherous conditions. Border Patrol has had to call in a special team to “demonstrate it was prepared to use force if necessary” and one facility manager even called it “a ticking time bomb.”
When the investigators were at the facilities, often migrants would try to get their attention. The report gives a harrowing account and paints a grim scene:
“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.”-an excerpt from a report from the Dept. of Homeland Security
In these pictures from Fort Brown Station, 51 adult females are being kept in a cell that’s made to hold about 40 young boys and 71 adult males being kept in a cell that is designed to hold 41 women.
According to the report, children are living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, with no access to showers and having to sleep on the concrete floor. The children also are without new clothes to change into, meaning many young children are having to wear soiled garments because there is a shortage of diapers as well.
The photo below shows the extreme overcrowding of families being held at the McAllen, TX facility on June 11, 2019.
Public outrage has been at an all time high since last summer Trump’s zero tolerance policies saw to the separation of thousands of immigrant families at the border. The outcry has only gotten louder given the harsh conditions found at the detention facilities where the families are being held. Some, including Rep. Alexeandria Ocasio-Cortez who even likened the facilities to concentration camps.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that the reports of such hazardous conditions were “unsubstantiated.” The Trump administration has given one excuse after the next, namely citing the conditions as a result of backlogs in other facilities.