The Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General warned back in May that conditions were bad enough at an El Paso sector border station that Border Patrol officials feared the detainees would riot, countering a statement from DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan that complaints about the stations were "unsubstantiated."
Inspectors noted in a May 7 tour that only four showers were available for use for 756 housed immigrants, according to the report, which has been obtained by NBC News and reported Monday.
Further, more than half of those detained were being held outside and those inside were crowded in cells holding far past their capabilities, said the report, noting in one case, a cell that was meant to hold a maximum of 35 men was holding 155, with just one toilet and sink.
The report also noted that temperatures inside the cells reached over 80 degrees and that detainees had to wear soiled clothing for days and weeks. Agents also reported taking detainees to hospitals five times daily, and that they'd treated 75 immigrants for lice in a single day and tried to quarantine flu, chickenpox and scabies outbreaks.
The facility also housed children, and while there was formula and baby food available, there were neither mats for them to sleep on or clean clothing. Trump administration officials are blaming the conditions in the stations on backlogs that are keeping immigrants in the centers for longer than they are supposed to be, notes NBC News.
The inspectors also interviewed CBP agents at the Paso Del Norte border station in El Paso, who said they feared the immigrants would either riot or engage in hunger strikes, and some agents said they want to either retire or transfer. Some reported incidents of trouble because of the stress of their jobs, including drinking and domestic violence. DHS did not respond to NBC for comment.
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