Washington, D.C. – Following a request from U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) for the federal Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Comptroller General to examine conditions for all children detained by the Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP), the GAO has produced a report showing that CBP misused federal funds meant for vulnerable migrants, including children. GAO found, in the course of their investigation pursuant to Senator Casey’s request, that funds intended for medical and nutrition needs were used for improper and unrelated purposes, including for facility upgrades, janitorial services, canine programs and transportation, such as purchasing ATVs. Senator Casey had requested the investigation after the deaths of Jakelin Caal and Felipe Alonzo-Gomez that occurred while in the agency’s custody.
“These findings demonstrate an appalling disregard for the lives of migrant children by the Customs and Border Patrol Agency and an abdication of responsibility for the vulnerable young people in our Nation’s care,” said Senator Casey. “It is critical that any funding for the Department of Homeland Security include clear directives and restrictions. I will be fighting for increased transparency from DHS and will continue to hold the Trump Administration responsible for implementing the law as Congress directs.”
Senator Casey led a letter to GAO with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and 20 of their Democratic colleagues in January 2019 requesting a report on the care of migrants in CBP custody, and outlining a number of questions that need to be addressed to prevent future tragedies from happening.
Read the letter to GAO here.