Document Dump: The OIG Report On Border Detainees Is Disturbing

Ken AshfordImmigration and Xenophobia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

The Atlantic:

The report echoed the accounts of lawyers who visited a border facility in Clint, southwest of El Paso, last month. Department of Homeland security officials had sought to rebut those claims. During a meeting with reporters last Friday to discuss border arrests, Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of DHS, called the lawyers’ descriptions “unsubstantiated allegations.” The Trump administration has repeatedly denied eyewitness reports from advocates and media accounts about the situation at the border, pushing back on them as mischaracterizations, or sensationalizing. But this report is from the government itself, saying that the overcrowding and conditions at the border are “urgent” and need to be addressed.

Elora Mukherjee was one of the lawyers who visited the site at Clint. As the director of the Immigrants Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, Mukherjee has been working with detained immigrant children for more than a decade. There were hungry children who did not have enough to eat, she told me. Children had urinated on their pants, and weren’t offered a change of clothes. Some children had vomited on their clothing. It was a health risk, she said. Children reported seeing guards pulling other children from cages by force. On Monday, a ProPublica report detailed the culture of a Facebook group where current and former CBP agents joked about the death of migrants. When the lawyers went public with reports of the conditions, she reiterated, the government called them unsubstantiated.

“Conditions in CBP facilities have consistently been awful,” she told me. “But what has changed has been the length of time that children have been held in CBP custody—and what is also different is that children are now dying.” Tuesday’s report, Mukherjee said, “shows that our reports are substantiated.”