Press "Enter" to skip to content

DHS Inspector General Witnesses Human Rights Abuses at Border Detention Camps

If you think it’s crowded at your local fireworks show tonight, you should see our undersupplied border detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, which are described as a “ticking time bomb” not by liberal Stalin-loving hippies but by a senior manager at a Homeland Security detention camp in a report from DHS Acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello:

Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—"DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of CHildren and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted), 2019.07.02.
Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—”DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted),” 2019.07.02.
Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—"DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of CHildren and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted), 2019.07.02.
Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—”DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted),” 2019.07.02.
Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—"DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of CHildren and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted), 2019.07.02.
Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—”DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted),” 2019.07.02.

In addition to the overcrowding we observed, Border Patrol’s custody data indicates that 826 (31 percent) of the 2,669 children6 at these facilities had been held longer than the 72 hours generally permitted under the TEDS standards and the Flores Agreement.7 For example, of the 1,031 UACs held at the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, TX, 806 had already been processed and were awaiting transfer to HHS custody. Of the 806 that were already processed, 165 had been in custody longer than a week. Additionally, there were more than 50 UACs younger than 7 years old, and some of them had been in custody over two weeks while awaiting transfer.

In addition to holding roughly 30 percent of minor detainees for longer than 72 hours, several Rio Grande Valley facilities struggled to meet other TEDS standards for UACs and families. For example, children at three of the five Border Patrol facilities we visited had no access to showers, despite the TEDS standards requiring that “reasonable efforts” be made to provide showers to children approaching 48 hours in detention. At these facilities, children had limited access to a change of clothes; Border Patrol had few spare clothes and no laundry facilities. While all facilities had infant formula, diapers, baby wipes, and juice and snacks for children, we observed that two facilities had not provided children access to hot meals — as is required by the TEDS standards — until the week we arrived. Instead, the children were fed sandwiches and snacks for their meals. Additionally, while Border Patrol tried to provide the least restrictive setting available for children (e.g., by leaving holding room doors open), the limited space for medical isolation resulted in some UACs and families being held in closed cells [Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, Management Alert—”DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in Rio Grande Valley (Redacted),” 2019.07.02].

DHS responds that more people are crossing the border illegally, that Congress needs to act, and that courts need to quit creating “loopholes”:

Throughout this crisis, CBP continues to do everything it can to promptly transfer, transport, process, release, or repatriate those in our custody. However, without Congressional action to address legal and judicial loopholes, families and UACs will continue to be incentivized tby the smuggling organizations to make the dangerous journey and be encouraged by the likelihood that families will not be detained during their immigration proceedings. As more migrants become emboldened by these loopholes, CBP expects this influx to not only continue, but also to escalate [Jim H. Crumpacker, Director, Departmental GAO-OIG Liaison Office, DHS Management Response to OIG Draft Management Alert, 2019.07.01].

Richest, most powerful country in the world, and we can’t get kids who want to become Americans a hot meal, and shower, and room to stretch their legs. Seriously—look at all the food around you here in the land of the free and tell me why we can’t afford to share with these willing new Americans.


  1. Jenny 2019-07-04 10:28

    Trump supporters, are these pictures not the definition of inhumane to you? I’m sure there are plenty of S.D. trumpian conspiracy theorists that will say this is a staged act.

  2. Donald Pay 2019-07-04 10:35

    My grandmother came from Germany to the United States as a child. Fifty years later, I climbed up on her lap and asked her to speak German. She laughed. The two things I most remember about my grandmother is that she rattled off all these words that I couldn’t understand, and that big laugh that came from her belly. It was a laugh you could feel. I imagine she brought that laugh with her from Germany. You couldn’t hate someone with a laugh like that.

    I think a lot about my Grandma Annie when I think about the people held in cages. I think about my funny Grandma who spoke a funny language and had a funny laugh that I could feel as I sat on her lap. And then I imagine Trump calling her names and locking her up and making her scared. It makes me mad.

    I’m not celebrating today. America is no longer great.

  3. jerry 2019-07-04 10:51

    Indeed Mr. Pay, trump and his supporters have made this day just another Thursday, nothing special. The concentration camps are a shocking reminder of an illegitimate presidency. So then, who will be next to occupy these growing concentration camps, which one of us will be taken into them to drink water out of a toilet, if were lucky.

  4. David Newquist 2019-07-04 11:12

    It is hard to live in South Dakota with its nine American Indian reservations and not be aware that confining people and separating children from their parents is a traditional American strategy. It is hard, but also quite possible and often happens. The old policy of sending Native American children to boarding schools for “re-education” and punishing them if they spoke their native languages is a well-established part of our history. It is also a well-evaded part of our history. If we are offended by Trump’s concentration camps, we tend to compare them with Nazi Germany. But that practice is written into the South Dakota landscape. Trump is possible because so many Americans have never confronted their own history, but the notion lingers that to them making America great again is restoring the opression that festers deep in their souls.

  5. Loren 2019-07-04 11:15

    I can’t believe you folks are not celebrating the “Trump of July”. After all, he told us on July 24, 2018, “What you are seeing and what you are reading is NOT what is happening.” That should make everyone feel better about those photos, eh? (Snark intended!)

  6. John 2019-07-04 11:17

    Tanks in our capitol. Concentration camps on our borders. Saddest time to be an American since the Nixon era or Indian assimilation.

  7. jerry 2019-07-04 12:01

    John brings up a valid point about concentration camps on the borders, there are now only those on the southern border. American jobs are most likely lost to the invasion from the north, Canada. Here is from the same Department of Homeland Security, when do we build the wall?

    “The number of foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period but overstayed their visas dropped slightly, the Homeland Security Department reported last week.

    Despite President Trump’s focus on immigrants from Mexico, for the second straight year Canada occupied the top spot for overstays followed by Mexico, Venezuela, the United Kingdom and Colombia, according to the 43-page report.”

    Illegal Canadians and others to the tune of over 700,000 last year.

  8. Porter Lansing 2019-07-04 12:54

    Those damn Canadians. “Lock up the frostbacks!” They skate into the Dakotas, on frozen rivers and lakes, in the dark of night. Sneaking in to get our freedom, only to find there’s not enough freedom here to share.

  9. Porter Lansing 2019-07-04 13:42

    Make America Great Again? C’mon, man. America’s never been great. We weren’t even a Democracy until the 70’s. Until then southern states were 11 sanctuaries of autocratic and dictatorial rule. Black Americans were oppressed. Illegitimate and unauthorized violence, including lynching, was used to keep them subjugated to white rule. That system was obviously not fully democratic. It was what political scientists sometimes call a herrenvolk democracy, in which only the dominant ethnic group gets democratic representation.
    Southern Democrats placed so many restrictions on voter rights and politics that it became effectively impossible for any other party to compete in elections. All this within a country that considered itself not only a democracy but a shining example of one.
    Creating and protecting democracy is a continuous project, not something that can be accomplished by declarations of MAGA by the lazy supporters of a President, happy to feed their desire to blame others for their inactive and self defeating life choices.

  10. jerry 2019-07-04 15:11

    Federal government sexual predators claim they should not be responsible for the sexual attacks on the detainees.

    “E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time of the assault, E.D. was 19 years old.

    She filed suit against the detention center and its staff for their failure to protect her from sexual violence, even though they were aware of the risk. The record in the case, E.D. v. Sharkey, shows that her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.”

    Our American concentration camps rival those of Libya and for the matter the Third Reich of Nazi Germany. Some of this is too much for Republicans and they are leaving the brown shirts and going Independent.

  11. Debbo 2019-07-04 17:44

    Yes, innocent children (where are you prolifers?) are being abused actively and passively. Sexual crimes are being committed by those who are supposed to be protecting them. Veterans are homeless. Americans are working multiple jobs in a desperate effort to make ends meet. Americans are dying because they can’t pay for their meds.

    Why all this? It’s not the refugees, not the immigrants. There is enough $ to take care of those needs, treat those people humanely, make the USA a great and kind nation.

    The problem is a tiny percentage of people greedily and grubbily hoarding the wealth we’ve ALL worked so hard to produce.

    Left v Right is a lie.
    Black v. white is a lie.
    Citizen v. refugee is a lie.

    Top v. everyone else is the Truth.

  12. Sam2 2019-07-04 18:24

    They are illegals, how any one can expect them to follow our laws when they break into our country. If they do not like the conditions in the Camps built by the Obama administration they can return home. Obama detained 90,000 children’s and not one democrat said a word. Same concept of having a burglar in your house and calling him or her a guest.

    They are free to return to their country at anytime.

    Many countries these people would be deport or jailed without a hearing. We need to take care our own first.

    There are legal ways to enter America.

  13. grudznick 2019-07-04 18:33

    These stories seem horrible, but I do wonder why these people don’t come into the country legally, instead of breaking the laws made by our law makers, and then being punished according to our laws.

    grudznick’s advice would be to stop breaking the law, and come into this country by following the rules. grudznick has jobs that need to be filled, so come into the country by the legal and do it soon. Or I will have to pay old druggie democrat adults $18/hour to get what I need done.

  14. jerry 2019-07-04 19:15

    Many of us said plenty about the deportation done by President Obama. Big difference from deportation and concentration camps. Let me put it this way Sam2, would you rather be deported or would you rather be packed into a concentration camp like a CAFO?

  15. mike from iowa 2019-07-04 19:22

    And, Sam2 , maybe you can answer this. If these so called illegals are allowed by law to enter America and seek asylum, at what juncture do they become illegal? Do they automatically become illegal because the orange moron in the kremlin annex declares them so?

    What is the purpose of fining each one half a million bucks for eluding capture? Whose gonna pay that? Who can pay that? There are not enough live brain cells in the Drumpf administration to successfully blow their collective noses.

  16. Buckobear 2019-07-04 19:31

    Grudz — I asked my 97 year old mother why her father came to America. “for a better life,” she said. He came from Sweden.
    The current power structure has intentionally mad it nearly impossible for people wanting a better life to immigrate here “legally’.
    My only hope is that the International Court of human Justice indicts all those responsible for this atrocity for crimes against humanity. Dog knows there’s littele enough of that in the current administration.
    Wonder how the current occupant of the white house will react when told that to enter a foreign country will relult in arrest, trial and incarceration ??

  17. jerry 2019-07-04 19:49

    Bradley fighting thingy, off topic, but good for today. If you get a chance to see this movie from the mid 1990’s, try to do so. The true story of corruption and indifference in the Pentagon, who just sent two of these Uber’s to trumps folly today. Here is something from that HBO movie

  18. bearcreekbat 2019-07-04 20:05

    Trump propaganda designed to dehumanize immigrants has worked on Sam2. Notice his choice of labels – he calls these people the same names that Trump models and these names have managed to remove any empathy he otherwise might have for someone seeking safety, freedom and economic survival.

    Dehumanization worked against Jews trying to flee Germany as they too were called “illegals.” The USA turned away Jews trying to escape from the danger, lack of freedom, and economic devastation in mid-twentith century Germany.

    Dehumanization worked during the cold war as well. People trying to escape the dangers, lack of freedom, and economic misery of East Germany, East Berlin, and other communist countries were label “illegals” and prevented from leaving. Funny, though, after our experience turning away German jews, the USA seemed to support freeing people to leave communist countries. Remember Reagan’s call to “tear down that wall Mr Gorbachev?”

    It is curious how people like Sam2 seem to be back on the side of Nazi Germany stopping fleeing people because Sam2 no longer sees them as deserving human beings – they are just “illegals” to him and his ilk.

  19. grudznick 2019-07-04 20:31

    Mr. Buckobear, I have not recently tried to enter a foreign country illegally, so I cannot image the hell that must be.

  20. jerry 2019-07-04 20:57

    Concentration camps in Iraq..again. Boy, this is the new thang for autocrats. Mission Accomplished…maybe not so much. Hey, let’s toss another trillion into that fire, we’ll print more. Looks like the Human Rights Watch

    “An international human rights monitor slammed Iraq’s prison authorities for detaining several thousand men, women and children in overcrowded and “degrading” conditions.

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday it acquired photographs from Tal Keif prison in northeastern Nineveh province that suggested it, along with the nearby Tasfirat facility, did not meet basic international standards.

    One photograph depicted dozens of teenage boys packed into a juvenile detention centre, some in foetal positions. The floor was not visible amid the sea of limbs.” aljazeera 07.04.2019

    Proud days for America though, we are now equal to China, Iraq, Libya and many other regimes for human rights abuse.

  21. cibvet 2019-07-05 00:24

    There was a time I was a proud American, anymore, just an ashamed American.

  22. Anne Beal 2019-07-05 01:00

    the people at the border are no different from people waiting in airports for delayed flights.
    They are there because they want to be. If they don’t want to be there, they can leave. Any time they want. They can just go home, or they can check into a local motel. They aren’t prisoners. Even though airline passengers sometimes feel like prisoners, they aren’t. They are free to leave any time they want. And so can all those people at the border.

  23. mike from iowa 2019-07-05 09:06

    They can just go home? Are you on glue? Many of these immigrants have no homes and face death or worse if forced to return to war torn countries. Why is that such a hard concept for you people to wrap your heads around?

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-05 09:28

    Anne, did you notice the word “Detention” in the title of the report? We are detaining people, meaning they are prisoners, held by the state. They aren’t free to step out and check into a local motel.

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-07-05 10:12

    Anne, if you don’t want to be an unbalanced, out of touch, senior anymore … just stop. You are free to regain sanity any time you want. Even though you feel like a prisoner of those voices in your head, just leave. *See how impossible it is to get out of the trap life presents some of us?

  26. mike from iowa 2019-07-05 11:44

    Airline passengers on delayed flight already boarded might just as well decide they are in detention as they cannot leave the plane for any reason.

  27. leslie 2019-07-05 22:47

    This mthrfckr needs to be impeached. Mueller needs to nail him on the 17th. He screams dems want a “do-over” but when he threatens public with “census meddeling” and courts shout NO LIAR, he wants a do-over.

    Climate change.

    Income inequality.

    If we have to wait : These TWO ISSUES FOR 2020. They cover every critical freedom and liberty and democracy for us and the world.

Comments are closed.