Border Patrol Rejects Soap, Diaper Donations To Child Centers Despite Filthy Conditions

Illegal young migrants play football at a temporary detention centre for illegal underage immigrants in Tornillo, Texas, US near the Mexico-US border, as seen from Valle de Juarez, in Chihuahua state, Mexico on June ... Illegal young migrants play football at a temporary detention centre for illegal underage immigrants in Tornillo, Texas, US near the Mexico-US border, as seen from Valle de Juarez, in Chihuahua state, Mexico on June 18, 2018. - Mexico strongly condemned US President Donald Trump's administration Tuesday for its policy of separating immigrant children and parents detained after crossing the US-Mexican border, calling it "inhuman." (Photo by HERIKA MARTINEZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have been rejecting donations of soap, diapers, and other necessities to the child migrant detention centers that’ve been exposed as filthy and devoid of basic humanitarian supplies.

The Texas Tribune reported that a group of six people tried to donate soap, diapers, toys and wipes to a detention center in Clint, Texas, only for Border Patrol officials to turn them away. Attempts to donate supplies to other child migrant facilities were also rejected.

When TPM asked the CBP about the donations on Tuesday, press officer Roger Maier said in an emailed statement that the agency “continues to utilize all available resources to prioritize and care for children in our custody.”

Maier also provided a transcript of a media call held earlier in the day, during which a reporter asked an unnamed CBP official what the agency’s policy was on donations.

“So we have put out a data call to the sectors to see what is needed, what can be donated and we’re working closely with our Office of Chief Counsel to see legally how we can accept those,” the official responded.

The official also denied that the centers were running low on supplies, saying that the items are “available now and they have been continuously.”

“So, we are looking at the possibility of using some of those donations going forward,” the official said. “But those items, it’s important to note, are available now we’ve used our own funding to buy those things.”

That claim came in direct contrast not only to various news reports, but also to what acting CBP Commissioner John Sanders, who resigned on Tuesday, told the Associated Press this week.

“The death of a child is always a terrible thing, but here is a situation where, because there is not enough funding … they can’t move the people out of our custody,” Sanders said.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have blamed Congress (in Trump’s case, Democrats in particular) for not allocating enough money to the immigration agency to take care of the children.

And last week, a Justice Department lawyer tried to argue that the federal government wasn’t required to provide toothbrushes and soap to the kids.

On Tuesday, the government returned children to the now-infamous Clint facility just days after removing them.

“Due to the transfer of a large number of these children to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the past few days, El Paso Sector is currently resuming use of the Clint Station as the consolidated UAC holding facility to streamline transfer to HHS and accommodate separate holding areas based on age and gender,” Maier said.

Correction: This story erroneously stated children were returned to Clint hours after they were removed.

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