Last week, a New Mexico State University professor discovered that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been detaining migrants again outside near the Paso del Norte International Bridge in El Paso. From Bob Moore’s interview with government professor Neal Rosendorf for Texas Monthly:
Rosendorf described it as “a human dog pound”—one hundred to 150 men behind a chain-link fence, huddled beneath makeshift shelters made from mylar blankets and whatever other scraps they could find to shield themselves from the heat of the sun. “I was able to speak with detainees and take photos of them with their permission,” Rosendorf said in an email. “They told me they’ve been incarcerated outside for a month, that they haven’t washed or been able to change the clothes they were detained in the entire time, and that they’re being poorly fed and treated in general.” [….]
CBP previously detained people under the bridge in March and early April but moved the detainees to enclosed conditions after a public outcry over reports of children and pregnant women sleeping on gravel and being bombarded with pigeon droppings. At the time, CBP officials said they were using an area on the east side of the port of entry as a processing center for migrants, preparing them for transfer to other facilities or release. Officials didn’t respond to questions about when they resumed detaining rather than processing people outdoors.
Both Rosendorf and Representative Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, said they were told by detainees that some people have been held more than a month outdoors. They said they saw only single adults held outside at the bridge. Escobar said she was told most were Cuban men. The report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General that triggered Rosendorf’s trip to the bridge was based on an unannounced inspection on May 7 and 8, a little over three weeks before he saw people detained outside.
These migrant men are fathers and sons and brothers who in all likelihood came here to work and provide for their families. It’s not okay just because there are no women or children that we know of currently detained by Trump and his monstrous administration in such cruel and inhumane conditions.
For those who don’t know, El Paso is in the Chihuahuan Desert where temperatures routinely reach into the 90s or low 100s at this time of year.
Apparently, Border Patrol’s strategy is to hide what they’re doing from the public, then to stall when questioned by the media or members of Congress. In this instance, they took 8 days to respond to Texas Monthly’s inquiries after Moore began working on this story.
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