DHS Watchdog: “Dangerous Overcrowding” and Dire Conditions at Texas Migrant Jails

HeadlineJul 03, 2019

A damning new report and shocking photos by the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog is adding to the mounting outcry over detention conditions for asylum seekers at the border. Acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello is urging DHS to “take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The report notes that migrants are being held without sufficient food or access to medical care. Some children had not received a hot meal since being locked up, and begged not to be returned to their cells. Inspectors observed over 2,500 children who had been held longer than the three days permitted under a key court settlement known as the Flores agreement. Photos accompanying the report show extreme overcrowding, including people huddled in cells in standing-room-only conditions. Some photos also show asylum seekers holding up signs for the inspectors—one of which reads “help.”

NPR reports that DHS is currently on the hunt for new sites across several Southern states to detain migrant children.

Meanwhile, lawmakers continue to make their own trips to immigrant jails, with Florida Congressmember Frederica Wilson leading a delegation Tuesday that included John Lewis to visit the Homestead facility in Florida.

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