Investigation Finds Border Patrol Unprepared For Migrant Surge Last Year

By Michel Marizco
Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 4:25pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 7:49am

migrants detained at the border
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Migrants detained at the border in El Paso in March 2019.

Customs and Border Protection wasn’t prepared to handle a large population of immigrants who arrived at the southwestern border last year, a new investigation has found.

The Office of Inspector General report describes chaotic Border Patrol facilities where medical workers said they were overwhelmed. In some locations, Border Patrol holding facilities lacked showers so agents handed migrants wet wipes to clean themselves with.

Auditors did find that Border Patrol facilities did have drinkable water and hygiene supplies and that agents provided food, formula, juice for children. 

In some scenarios involving contagious illnesses, the OIG found agents had no choice. While they moved people suffering from the same illness together, that meant they had less room for other migrants. And that, auditors found, led to even more crowding.

Special Report: Tracing The Migrant Journey


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