House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) again called for the prosecution of Trump administration officials who are responsible for the horrific conditions and treatment of child migrants being held at Border Patrol facilities near the border.
“All the people in the administration who have done this, who have committed it, are guilty of child abuse, which is a crime,” Nadler said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We ought to prosecute.”
Nadler on Monday night told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “What we saw today was disgusting. When we were at the border a couple of months ago, although they didn’t let us talk to the kids, we saw very disgusting conditions then. This is inhumane and criminal. Frankly, I think it’s criminal. There ought to be prosecutions of some of the agency heads and some of the people for child abuse. This is clearly child abuse. It violates probably a half dozen laws.”
He added, “It’s just more of the administration determining to torture people in order to be a deterrent for people coming over the border which they no longer admit was the case, but admitted it a few months ago.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General released an explosive report Tuesday on “Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley,” along with shocking images showing the dangerous overcrowding conditions at Border Patrol Facilities in Texas.
Acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello urged DHS in a letter to take “immediate attention and action” to “alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley.”
The DHS watchdogs visited five Border Patrol facilities and two ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley in the week of June 10th and found over 8,000 detainees crammed into cells for days at a time. Some men had been held in “standing room only” conditions for days at a time.
According to the report:
“Although TEDS standards require CBP to make a reasonable effort to provide a shower for adults after 72 hours, most single adults had not had a shower in CBP custody despite several being held for as long as a month. At some facilities, Border Patrol was giving detainees wet-wipes to maintain personal hygiene. Most single adult detainees were wearing the clothes they arrived in days, weeks, and even up to a month prior.”
At two facilities, children and families did not have hot meals until the week the inspectors arrived. The inspectors documented that detainees had been fed bologna sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weeks and became sick.
“Further, although TEDS standards require agents to remain cognizant of detainees’ religious and other dietary restrictions, many single adults had been receiving only bologna sandwiches. Some detainees on this diet were becoming constipated and required medical attention.”
The inspectors found that children were being held for long periods of time. The data showed that 826 of the 2,669 children held at the border facilities were in custody longer than the 72 hours mandated by court orders
At the centralized processing center in McAllen, Texas, 165 unaccompanied children had been in detention for longer than a week as they waited to be sent to shelters that care for immigrant kids. More than 50 of them were younger than 7 years old, and some of them had waited more than two weeks in border facilities.
One senior manager called the conditions at the facility a “ticking time bomb.”
The OIG noted that many men held in CBP custody were growing increasingly desperate. When they realized someone other than CBP was there, they banged on the windows to get OIG's attention.
One man wrote "Help 40 days here" on a piece of cardboard and pressed it to the window. pic.twitter.com/DCdWFxG3GC
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) July 2, 2019
BREAKING: Office of the Inspector General releases new pictures of overcrowding at Border Patrol Facilities in TX. One senior manager calling this a “ticking time bomb.” #Immigration #ICE @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/bQdde1LYmB
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) July 2, 2019