According to a recent article from The Hill, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security found dangerous levels of overcrowding and prolonged detention of individuals at immigration detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley. OIG visited five different facilities, at which about 8,000 immigrants were being held. About 3,400 of those individuals had been in custody longer than the 72 hours permitted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) standards. Many adults had been in standing-room-only conditions for over a week with no ability to shower. Some reported being held for over a month without access to proper food, hygiene, or laundry facilities.
Of the 2,669 children in these facilities, 826 children had been there longer than 72 hours, and at three facilities, the children had no access to showers. Furthermore, the children had no access to hot meals and only limited access to change their clothing. Some children remained in detention for more than two weeks.
In its report, the OIG pointed out that not only were the current conditions dangerous to the detained immigrants, but also the health and safety of DHS agents and officers. DHS claims that it has been working on adding tent facilities to improve conditions for detained immigrants and expanding access to medical services.
This OIG report followed a similar report in May regarding an immigration detention facility in El Paso, Texas. Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan later referred to that report as “unsubstantiated.” These reports nonetheless have increased pressure on the Trump administration to find a better and more humane way to deal with the arrival of thousands of immigrants at the southern border. The Rio Grande Valley is the busiest area in the country for unauthorized border crossings. An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and present your options. Finally, we can help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.