Durbin Statement On DHS IG Report Regarding Dangerous & Inhumane Conditions At CBP Facility In El Paso

CHICAGO—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 detailing the inhumane and dangerous overcrowding of migrants at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center:  

“What I saw at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center on April 12 has haunted me ever since, and is detailed vividly in today’s DHS IG report.  As the report states, the overcrowding and prolonged detention of migrants represents an immediate risk to the health and safety of not only the migrants but also DHS agents and officers.  Unfortunately, President Trump’s response to this heartbreaking humanitarian challenge is threats and cruelty that only make the situation worse for the migrants and our nation.

“My visit and this report underscore the need for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform – which includes smart, effective, and humane border security.  Democrats stand ready to work with our Republican colleagues on this urgent matter.”

Last week, Durbin led 24 Senators in calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the DHS Acting Inspector General to immediately investigate DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facilities at the southwest border, in particular the conditions for minors, family units, and other vulnerable individuals.  Last week, CBP announced the death of a teenager at a CBP facility, the sixth child since September to die after being apprehended by CBP. Full text of the letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross is available here. Full text of the letter to DHS Acting Inspector General John Kelly is available here

Along with Durbin, the letters were also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

In April, Durbin met with CBP officers at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry and Processing Center, where he received an overview of port operations, including the processing of unaccompanied minors, vehicle processing, and Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) systems.  He detailed the conditions he witnessed in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune.