EL PASO, Texas – The Office of Inspector General today called on the Department of Homeland Security to address dangerous overcrowding at Border Patrol holding facilities at Paso del Norte Port of Entry. The report comes out weeks after the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Border Rights Center issued a complaint to DHS and CBP officials calling for an investigation into the treatment of migrants held at the facility.
Astrid Dominguez, director for the ACLU Border Rights Center, had the following reaction:
“DHS must no longer ignore the egregious human rights abuses that are occurring on its watch. In our complaint filed last month, the ACLU documented abuses from forcing migrant families to sleep on rocky ground for up to four nights while exposed to harsh elements, to cramming people into overcrowded, standing room only conditions. Now, the government’s own internal watchdog has documented the exact kind of abusive conditions our complaint warned about. While the OIG recommendation is to ‘take immediate steps to alleviate the overcrowding,’ it fails to describe what exact steps need to be taken and also fails to address inadequate medical treatment and the lack of food and water. We demand that at a minimum, CBP immediately comply with its own rules on protecting the lives, health and dignity of the people in their custody. Detention will never be the solution. DHS needs to invest in proven alternatives to detention. We cannot stand for this inhumane treatment of those seeking refuge in our country.”