Skip to Content

‘Dangerous’ overcrowding cited in El Paso border facilities as CBP struggled last year

AP photo
Border Patrol agents at an immigration holding facility in El Paso.

EL PASO, Texas -- Migrants detained by the Border Patrol in El Paso and elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border during last year's surge were routinely subjected to overcrowded and substandard conditions.

That's according to a summary of a new government watchdog report published Sunday by the Arizona Republic newspaper.

The newspaper's breakdown is based on a 36-page report by the U.S. Homeland Security Department's Inspector General on inspections conducted at more than a dozen Border Patrol stations and seven ports of entry in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The IG found "serious overcrowding, prolonged detention and conditions falling short of [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] standards" at facilities that housed migrants.

In particular, the IG described "dangerous" overcrowding at the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley ports of entry in Texas, which it noted saw intense waves of asylum-seekers.

Some of the problem, the IG indicated, was due to backlogs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Health and Human Services (HHS), who were supposed to have taken custody of detained migrants within 72 hours - but often didn't.

Among other things, the overcrowding made it difficult for CBP to control the spread of contagious illnesses and viruses in the detained migrant populations.

But the IG found Border Patrol and the CBP did try to provide adequate medical care for migrants. The watchdog said they took "extraordinary measures" to deploy healthcare workers and conduct detainee medical screenings.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the former Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content