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Unannounced inspections at San Diego CBP facilities show overcrowding, prolonged detention

Posted at 9:48 AM, Nov 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-28 12:48:32-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — An unannounced visit by the U.S. Inspector General to five Customs and Border Protection facilities earlier this year is providing insight into the conditions for migrants inside.

The visit happened in May, at the same time thousands of migrants were camped out at the U.S.-Mexico border waiting for agents to process their asylum claims.

The 24-page report says the inspector found all five locations visited held detainees longer than 72 hours, which violates the national standard. At the time, there were over 1,100 detainees in those facilities and 56% of them were held for prolonged periods.

It also found the largest facility in San Diego, the temporary soft-sided facility, was at 171% capacity. At the Chula Vista station, clean bedding standards were not met. The report provided photographs of both findings.

The inspections also found four of the five stations visited had issues with record keeping, including room checks and meals provided going undocumented.

The report did find CBP generally meets other standards like providing things like food, water, sleeping mats, and medical care.

In the report, CBP acknowledged the findings and said they already took steps to correct the issues including increased staffing to help with processing and enhanced communication with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help speed up the process.

A local CBP spokesperson sent ABC 10News the following statement:

CBP is leveraging all available resources and partnerships to efficiently vet and process migrants consistent with policy and law. The agency continues to surge personnel, transportation, processing, and humanitarian resources to the most active areas throughout San Diego’s border region.

CBP remains committed to ensuring compliance with its policies by providing reasonable and appropriate care for persons in CBP custody. The OIG report found that CBP facilities in the San Diego area generally met policy standards for food, water, sleeping mats, and medical care. CBP has made several procedural adjustments to ensure a rapid response to increases in irregular migration and has established important partnerships with DHS components, federal, state, and local agencies, and other key stakeholders.

DHS continues to enforce United States immigration laws, expanding lawful pathways while strengthening enforcement consequences for those who cross our border unlawfully. Individuals and families without a legal basis to remain in the U.S. are subject to removal pursuant to CBP’s longstanding Title 8 authorities and are subject to a minimum five-year bar on reapplying for admission and potential criminal prosecution if they subsequently re-enter without authorization.

CBP Spokesperson

CBP did not comment on whether or not the formal closeout letter was already sent, but they do have until mid-December to do so.

To read the full report click here.