Hundreds of migrants were found stationed at an overcrowded, unsanitary Border Patrol processing facility in El Paso earlier this month, according to a unreleased report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General obtained by CNN.
According to CNN, the office conducted unannounced inspections at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center on May 7 and May 8 and found that the facility, with a maximum capacity of 125 people, was housing an estimated 750 and 900 people respectively, to the point where people were at standing room only.
From CNN, emphasis mine:
A cell with a maximum capacity of 12 held 76 detainees, another with a maximum capacity of 8 held 41 detainees, and another with a maximum capacity of 35 held 155 detainees, according to the report.
“(Customs and Border Protection) was struggling to maintain hygienic conditions in the holding cells. With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report states.
“We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets,” it adds.
The Border Patrol staff at the facility are reportedly getting burned out, too. The offie reported decreasing employee morale and a “high incidence of illness,” with staff at this facility and other looking to retire early or find another job elsewhere.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 98,000 people were processed at the southwest border in April. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump requested an additional $4.5 billion in border funding, with more than $150 million of the request earmarked to address “significant increases” in immigrant detentions.
To be clear, this has also been exacerbated by the Trump administration: In the president’s first two years in office, the average number of people in detention on any day has grown by more than 40 percent, according to the Marshall Project, partially as a result of the administration’s zero-tolerance policy and other measures aimed at cracking down on migrants.
The report comes just hours after President Donald Trump announced a five percent tariff on Mexican imports, should Mexico not attempt to curb the migration of Central Americans into the U.S. The administration is reportedly also considering a policy that would prevent anyone who has lived in a third country in addition to the U.S. and their home country, from asking for asylum. The policy could affect up to hundreds of thousands of Central Americans traveling to the U.S. through Mexico. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.