Five Border Detention Facilities Get Clean Bills of Health

A year after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities were overwhelmed by waves of illegal aliens, conditions have improved in South Texas.

Unannounced government inspections of five detention centers in Laredo and San Antonio last February found water, food, toilets, sinks, basic hygiene supplies and bedding were in plentiful supply and good working order.

“We observed clean facilities and verified that temperatures and ventilation in the holding rooms were appropriate,” stated a newly released report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The only deficiency cited was a lack of on-site showers at four of the facilities. But, the report added, “no detainees were approaching the detention time threshold when a shower would be required.”

The findings were a welcome turnaround from OIG’s 2019 inspection that identified “dangerous overcrowding” and a host of other problems at border facilities. (Contrary to bogus media reports, there were no kids in cages, however. That story was sooo 2014.)

OIG’s latest report generated no media headlines; positive news isn’t news where CBP is concerned. Lawmakers who ordered the inspections were equally mute when inspectors failed to find problems.

But while the OIG report reflects substantial improvement from a year ago, it can be taken with a grain of salt. Only five facilities were reviewed, and they were no longer swamped by the migrant surge that swept across the border in 2019. Also, the February inspection was conducted before COVID-19 started to complicate matters.

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan announced last week that border apprehensions in August hit 50,000, up from 10,000 from July. But, in a move that could ease potential crowding problems, CBP has been swiftly removing many of the recent migrants under public-health protocols.

The next round of OIG inspections at other border facilities will tell whether the progress noted in the Laredo sector is a trend or an aberration.

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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