Durbin Statement On DHS IG Report Detailing CBP's Inadequate Controls & Oversight Of FY19 Humanitarian Funding

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report that Durbin requested titled, “CBP Did Not Adequately Oversee FY 2019 Appropriated Humanitarian Funding.” 

Today’s report comes after Durbin led 24 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to DHS OIG last year requesting they investigate DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities and humanitarian response at the southwest border, including CBP’s use of $414.7 million that Congress appropriated in Fiscal Year 2019 for humanitarian purposes at the border, how CBP spent these funds, and whether these resources were deployed quickly and effectively.

“In response to the humanitarian crisis at our southern border created by the Trump Administration, Congress stepped up on a bipartisan basis to help by providing $414.7 million in Fiscal Year 2019.  This funding was specifically intended to help purchase items required to meet migrants’ basic needs, such as food, infant formula, diapers, and medical care.  Today’s damaging report shows that Border Patrol used some of this funding to purchase items such as toner cartridges, fingerprint pads, and restraints, rather than meeting migrants’ basic needs, as directed by Congress. 

“We have a responsibility to ensure that all women, men, and children in the custody of the United States government are treated humanely, and that American taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly for their intended purpose.  Our nation can and must do better.”

Today’s report concluded: “Although CBP quickly provided funding for consumables and medical services to address the humanitarian needs of the influx of migrants arriving at the southwest border, it did not do so using adequate controls or oversight.  This prevented CBP from ensuring that it applied FY 2019 funds effectively and in accordance with expressed congressional intent.  Without additional controls and oversight, CBP may not be able to safeguard and properly dedicate remaining unobligated funds that Congress provided for consumables and medical services.  This may also result in expenditures that are not for the purpose Congress intended.”