Washington, D.C. – Following the deaths of at least seven migrant children in the custody of the Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP), U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), along with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examine the facility conditions for children that are detained by CBP. The GAO report that found CBP does not follow its own guidelines for medical care for migrant children and ignored the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to administer flu shots. In addition to these findings, the report demonstrates CBP also inconsistently reported deaths of detainees in their custody, as well as serious illnesses and other injuries suffered in detention facilities.
“Children who are seeking refuge in our country should not be dying in our care,” said Senator Casey. “It’s essential that these children receive thorough examinations and proper medical health care as soon as they come into the country. Instead of politicizing immigration and ignoring policy suggestions for reform, the Trump Administration should be working to ensure the Department of Homeland Security is consistently implementing the CDC’s recommendations and established internal guidelines so that we protect the health and safety of migrant children and youth.”
In addition to Senators Casey and Feinstein, 20 other members signed on in support of the report. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward Markey (D-MA) Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Tina Smith (D-MN).
Based on the request from Senator Casey, the GAO released initial findings last month, which demonstrated the Trump Administration misspent funds for vulnerable migrant children. Following widespread media reports of squalid and overcrowded detention facilities, in 2019, Senator Casey visited facilities in Texas to examine the conditions and ensure that children and families are treated with dignity and respect.
Read the GAO report here.