Federal inspectors: 'Dangerous overcrowding' in Trump camps is a 'ticking time bomb'


Inspectors with the Department of Homeland Security also found jailed detainees who had not showered in a month.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspectors documented dangerous and unhealthy conditions at several of Trump's detention centers at the southern border in a report released on Tuesday.

One senior manager at a facility told inspectors that the deplorable conditions were "a ticking time bomb" — a serious health and safety risk for both detainees and the agents overseeing them.

Officials with the DHS Inspector General's office visited five Trump detention camps and found overwhelming evidence of "dangerous overcrowding." In one case, the report notes, detainees "were held in standing room only conditions for a week," and at another location, "some single adults were held more than a month in overcrowded cells."

Migrants were denied access to showers while they were stuck in these overcrowded conditions. In one location, the report states, "most single adults had not had a shower in CBP custody despite several being held for as long as a month." Rather than showers, border patrol officials gave detainees wet wipes in order to stay clean.

Federal guidelines require agents to "remain cognizant of detainees' religious and other dietary restrictions." However, many adults were being fed nothing but bologna sandwiches, to the point where some "were becoming constipated and required medical attention."

When jailed detainees saw inspectors, some of them "banged on the cell windows, shouted, pressed notes to the window with their time in custody, and gestured to evidence of their time in custody," such as the length of their beards.

The report notes that people are only supposed to be jailed in CBP facilities for 72 hours, not weeks or even a month. Federal law is especially clear on this when it comes to children. Yet the inspectors found evidence that 3,400 detainees, including more than 825 children, had been in overcrowded CBP facilities for more than 72 hours. Some children as young as 7 years old were detained there for up to two weeks.

The DHS report follows a series of damning reports from lawyers and a doctor documenting unconscionable conditions at Trump's child detention facilities at the border. In those facilities, children were forced to sleep on cold concrete floors and fed uncooked frozen meals, and young children had to take care of infants in their cells. One doctor compared the detention camp to "torture facilities."

On Monday, a congressional delegation led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited two border detention camps and reported horrid conditions, including thirsty women being told to drink water out of the toilet.

Trump's immigration policies have been a disaster for years, and now his own administration officials are raising red flags about conditions at these detention camps.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.