Sanitation and Health Issues Abound in Migrant Holding Facilities

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Government officials have recently found multiple migrant “temporary holding facilities” in poor conditions including overcrowding, diseases, and sanitary issues. According to NBC News, investigators from the Department of Homeland Security visited border stations in El Paso, Texas and found migrants being held for weeks rather than days at a time with only standing room left in their cells. Investigators filed a report with their findings and concerns to the department on Tuesday as a “management alert”. 

As investigators walked down the halls of the camps they were met with detained immigrants banging on and pressing notes against the plexiglass begging for help. One cell held eighty-eight makes which has a maximum capacity of 41, according to the Department of Homeland Security Office. More than a dozen migrants were interviewed and all attested to not being able to shower or brush their teeth for days on end along with descriptions of the terrifying living standards they see every day. 

According to the Texas Tribune, a volunteer attorney at one of the facilities described the center as “dangerously overcrowded and unable to provide safe and sanitary conditions”. Migrants are sent to CBP processing facilities after crossing the border and are left with a vague time estimate as to when they will be released. Very few of the detained migrants know where they are being held or the name of the facility that they are detained at. 

After reports were given to the Associated Press of the sanitary and safety conditions of these camps, Vice President Pence called these centers, “totally unacceptable”. Congress approved $4.6 billion in emergency funding pending approval of President Trump to go towards necessities for every detainee. Part of the funding also may be used to exterminate all lice and rodent infestations in all holding facilities

The Texas Tribune also found multiple busloads of immigrants which held almost all young children. Following flight tracking websites, it was found that many migrants from overcrowded facilities were being bussed to airlines and flown to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio to be processed at less crowded border patrol facilities. 

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