The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday he is stepping down as his agency is under siege over the discovery of dozens of children in filthy conditions at one of its stations in Texas.
Yet the US Government Accountability Office has reported that neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the Department of Health and Human Services were aware of the policy before it was publicly announced, and so were not prepared for the increase in children being kept imprisoned. "Some kids who were detained for two to three weeks had only one or two opportunities to shower".
The president said of the detained migrant children that he would "like to see them" receive toothbrushes and soap, but said the issue of providing them came from a "from a strictly legal standpoint".
It's unclear where all the children have been moved. "They need to be held accountable".
"It's the worst conditions I have ever witnessed in several years of doing these inspections", said Willamette University lawyer Warren Binford, who also described her visit to the facility on the NewsHour on Friday.
The official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, wouldn't say exactly how many children are now detained there.
The conditions at the centre in Clint were described by a team of lawyers, doctors and others who visited the facility about 30km southeast of El Paso. They have refused news organizations access to the facilities, however, saying the officials there are too busy trying to process the children and find places for them at more long-term shelters. His comment was echoed by David Rohde, who said the Taliban gave him toothpaste and soap during the seven months they held him.
That's a 60 percent increase over a year ago, according to HHS.
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Most of the infants, toddlers and teens who were held at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, were scheduled to be transferred by Tuesday to shelters and other facilities run by a separate federal agency, the Office of Refugee Resettlement said.
Border Patrol reported 283 migrant fatalities on the border in 2018.
ORR is responsible for placing unaccompanied children in special shelters and with foster families, providing the child detainees with access to beds, medical care, showers and educational activities, while also working to reunite them with their parents or other family members.
The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a supplemental spending measure that would send money to agencies working to address the needs of migrants arriving at the USA border with Mexico. The hygiene is minimal, and the food provided - microwaveable burritos, instant soup and sugary drinks, lawyers said - is basic and poor in nutrition. Human rights activists say the number is far higher as the remains of many migrants are never found and the agency's data does not include all deaths registered by local authorities.
"They actually don't have the infrastructure to be calling the aunt or the uncle, or even the parent who is in the United States, and actually check out whether it's a safe place to place the child".
The Trump administration has set limits on how many people can claim asylum each day at ports of entry.
Lawmakers from both parties decried the situation last week.