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DHS Watchdog Warns Of Dangerous Overcrowding In Border Migrant Camps

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The US Homeland Security watchdog has issued a "Management Alert" regarding the dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.

After visiting five detention facilities and two ports of entry, DHS Acting Inspector General Jennifer L. Costello submitted a memo to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and urged him to take immediate action to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation.

DHS Office of the Inspector General published a report containing details, including several stunning photos, based on its visit to the border facilities on June 10.

According to Border Patrol statistics, the Rio Grande Valley sector has the highest volume on the southwest border, with nearly a quarter million apprehensions recorded in the first eight months of FY 2019. This is a 124 percent increase compared to the same period in FY 2018, with the greatest increase in family units.

The report says Border Patrol was holding about 8,000 detainees in custody, with 3,400 held longer than the 72 hours generally permitted under the stipulated standards.

One of the photos show 88 men being accommodated in a cell with half its capacity.

CBP detains migrants arriving in the United States without valid travel documents for short-term to allow for initial processing, and then transfers them to other government agencies.

But since both the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are operating at above capacity, even when CBP has completed its initial processing obligations, it cannot transfer the detainees out of its facilities.

The report noted that there were more than 50 unaccompanied children younger than 7 years old. And, children at three of the five Border Patrol facilities had no access to showers.

The report also alerts about escalation of security incidents in these facilities.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will demand answers and accountability from the Trump Administration for the dangerous and dehumanizing conditions that it is inflicting on children and families at the border.

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