2nd Texas Child Migrant Shelter Under Scrutiny amid Sex Abuse, COVID Concerns

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter last week to Vice President Kamala Harris, demanding the Biden Administration close the Health and Human Services Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for unaccompanied migrant children located at the Freeman Expo Center in San Antonio. In new developments, law enforcement sources say authorities are now looking at conditions at another facility in the Rio Grande Valley.

A law enforcement source within CBP, speaking on a condition of anonymity, says Texas Rangers visited the Donna facility in recent days to investigate conditions. Rangers conduct major violent crime, public corruption, cold case, and officer-involved shooting investigations. They also oversee the Texas Department of Public Safety’s border security and crisis negotiation programs.

The source reports that Texas Rangers visited the facility but did not gain full access. Department of Homeland Security Investigators (HIS) have moved in to take the lead in the investigation into conditions. HSI maintains they have jurisdiction over the facilities, according to the source.

The original letter from Governor Abbott cites allegations of sexual assault, bullying, under-staffing, and a disregard for COVID-19 protocols. The letter also alleges unaccompanied children with COVID-19 are not isolated. The conditions under scrutiny at Donna have not been made public.

Governor Abbot’s statement on the conditions at the HHS facilities paint a grim picture.

The State of Texas previously warned about overcrowded conditions at these facilities, and now those conditions have led to allegations of child abuse and neglect … Our repeated warnings and questions have gone ignored by President Biden, yourself, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas. In your role as Border Czar, you have a duty to these children and the American people to act immediately. I implore you to act immediately to protect these children, secure the border, and end this crisis.

In a statement released after the letter’s publication, HHS responded and addressed the protocol for handling allegations of this nature.

HHS takes its humanitarian mission seriously and while unaccompanied migrant children are in our care under the law, we strive to provide a safe space while they go through immigration proceedings. HHS has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior at all UC care provider facilities. We will continue investigating any incidents affecting children’s health, well-being and safety and will take the proper measures including initiating employee disciplinary action, termination, and reporting to appropriate investigative entities, such as law enforcement agencies and relevant licensing bodies.

The number of unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody has steadily risen over the last several months and shows no signs of waning. There are more than 20,000 unaccompanied children being held by HHS and CBP across the country. The number has risen nearly 1% per day over the last two weeks, according to HHS data.

According to a law enforcement source within CBP, nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children were arrested in March, an all-time monthly record. HHS is scrambling to keep up with the record numbers by adding facilities and increasing bed capacity at an unprecedented pace.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.



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Migrant Got-Aways Exceed 155K this Year, Says CBP Source

A law enforcement source within Customs and Border Protection reports the number of migrants who escaped without being apprehended exceeded 155,000 so far this fiscal year. The source says the rate now exceeds 1,500 “got-aways” per day along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The source, speaking on a condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the subject, provided Breitbart Texas with new developments in the number of migrants escaping Border Patrol apprehension. The source says the number of migrants avoiding apprehension by the Border Patrol surpassed 155,000 for this fiscal year which began on October 1, 2020. On average, over the last three weeks, nearly 1500 migrants per day avoided apprehension.

As Breitbart Texas reported, in late March, the got-away total reached more than 130,000 — frustrating Border Patrol leadership. During all of Fiscal Year 2020, 69,000 illegal migrants managed to avoid apprehension by the Border Patrol. In just over six months of this fiscal year, the number has more than doubled over last year’s entire-year figures. Sources report the sharpest increase occurred following President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.

The metric is usually not released by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials. It is achieved by counting illegal immigrants who ultimately escape Border Patrol apprehension after being observed by aircraft platforms and camera systems. In addition, Border Patrol agents using traditional “sign-cutting” techniques identify footprints crossing the border and count those that elude apprehension.

“That’s where it gets tricky,” says one Border Patrol agent who did not wish to be identified. “On a small trail, dozens can walk all over each other’s footprints, so you just do your best. Often, they’ll glue carpet to the soles of their shoes making detection even harder.”

Sources report for these reasons, the got-away estimate is usually lower than reality. How much so is debatable as the latter method of counting is not scientific. The increasing got-aways come as CBP reports its highest migrant apprehension totals since 2006.

Despite the current administration’s refusal to call the immigration situation on the border a crisis, the recent surges are concerning. Many believe the impetus for the surges in illegal entries is being fueled by the promise of amnesty legislation. The administration’s new policies regarding lax interior enforcement and a reduction in removals are also believed to be contributing to the surge in activity along the border.

During a recent congressional visit to the border, Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) described the situation as “spiraling out of control”.

Recent reports concerning the reduced patrols being conducted by the Border Patrol are likely contributing to the surge in the got-away count. The humanitarian needs of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the border also impacted the Border Patrol’s ability to patrol many remote areas. This situation is likely to worsen as the crisis continues to develop.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.



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Feds Open Two Migrant Children Detention Centers — near Canadian Border

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials announced the opening of two more Emergency Intake Sites (EIS) to move increasing numbers of unaccompanied children out of Customs and Border Protection custody. The move mirrors recent announcements by HHS to address the surge in unaccompanied children migrants flooding the southern border.

One new EIS facility will be located at Starr Commonwealth campus in Albion, Michigan, about 70 miles from the U.S.-Canada border. The Starr Commonwealth EIS will provide housing for children ages 12 and under and has a potential capacity of 240 beds. Another will open at Pennsylvania International Academy (PIA) in Erie, Pennsylvania. The PIA EIS will also provide shelter for children ages 12 and under and has a potential capacity of 648 beds.

According to HHS, the EIS shelters being brought into service will provide the required standards of care for children. Those standards include providing clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, and access to medical services. A COVID-19 health screening protocol for all children will be implemented to follow CDC guidelines for preventing and controlling communicable diseases. Services will be provided by a combination of contractors and federal staff – including teams from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

The number of unaccompanied minors in United States custody rose steadily over the last several months and shows no signs of waning. There are over 20,000 unaccompanied children being held by HHS and CBP at Border Patrol Stations and HHS facilities across the country.

According to a law enforcement source within CBP, nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children were arrested in March, an all-time monthly record. HHS scrambles to keep up with the record numbers by adding facilities and increasing capacity to detain the unaccompanied children at a pace not seen before.

In March alone, HHS opened nine facilities to deal with the influx. Although current laws dictate the children may only be in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody for 72 hours, many have been detained for over ten days according to law enforcement sources. A number of Border Patrol facilities are facing issues with overcrowding.

According to HHS, 301 unaccompanied children were discharged from custody to sponsors within the United States. The running 30-day average for UAC’s apprehended by the Border Patrol stands at 511 per day according to data released Friday.

The potential detention capacity for unaccompanied children added by the Biden administration since March 1st alone is over 18,000 beds. HHS estimates the cost to house each unaccompanied child in an EIS is approximately $775 per day. The Biden administration thus far has not communicated a clear plan to reduce the influx of unaccompanied children.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas Sector.



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U.S. Spends $6 Million Per Day to House Unaccompanied Migrant Children

According to Health and Human Services, the federal government is detaining more than 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children nationwide. To accommodate the latest surge, HHS opened 13 new detention facilities since March 1 and are designed to house the children until sponsors receive them.

According to the latest HHS data, they hold 16,000 unaccompanied children and another 4,000 are about to be transferred from Border Patrol custody. The HHS estimates the cost to detain a child in the newest facilities, which they refer to as Emergency Intake Sites (EIS), is $775 per day. In other long-term facilities, they indicate that cost to be approximately $275 per day. The temporary shelter numbers are those in excess of 13,500 permanent facility beds, meaning the agency is spending nearly $4 million a day on long-term UACs and nearly $2 million per day on EIS shelters. This does not account for the expenditures by the Border Patrol to detain the additional 4,000 UACs.

According to HHS, the EIS shelters being brought into service will provide required standards of care for children, such as providing clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, and access to medical services. A COVID-19 health screening protocol for all children will reportedly be implemented to follow CDC guidelines for preventing and controlling communicable diseases. Services will be provided by a combination of contractors and federal staff – including teams from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

HHS responded to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas concerning the funding of these expenses. HHS did not address any congressional appropriation specifically for the opening and operation of the newest facilities and would only say they are using available funds to provide for the record number of UACs. In effect, this means HHS and CBP are diverting programmatic funds from within the agencies. Where exactly the funds are being diverted from was not revealed.

Under the purview of HHS are the Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Food and Drug Administration. These are but a few of the HHS-managed programs designed to provide health services to United States residents with Congressional funding. Absent appropriations specifically for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, HHS must utilize funding from other sources to construct, open, and operate facilities to care for and find sponsors for the thousands of unaccompanied children.

Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), when asked by Breitbart Texas about the issue says the lack of transparency by the agency is troubling. The money has not been appropriated by Congress and must be taken from operating budgets to carry out their mission.  He addressed that question at a recent press conference held by a congressional delegation visiting the border in Texas on Thursday.

Of the nearly 170,000 migrants apprehended illegally entering the United States in March, nearly 19,000 were unaccompanied children.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.



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Return of ‘Catch and Release’ Drives Migrant Surge to U.S., Says Texas Border City Mayor

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Communities all along the southern border are dealing with issues related to the surge that has impacted law enforcement entities and residents as well. Mayor Luis E. Sifuentes expressed the complaints he received from constituents concerning trespassing and other associated crimes.

He described the frustrations and fears expressed by local citizens with the increase in home break-ins and other property crimes. “Everybody is working together to keep our community safe but the smugglers are taking advantage of the situation,” he added.

The cause he cites is the change in policies after the presidential election by reinstating “catch and release.”

“When Washington is allowing for catch and release, it sends the message to other countries. When they’re being released, they are calling their countrymen, they’re saying ‘hey, we made it, come over,’” the mayor added.

Sifuentes expressed his concerns during a round-table discussion hosted by a congressional delegation to Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas, on Thursday. Other local community leaders and law enforcement officials expressed similar frustrations at the lack of funding to assist in dealing with what they view as a federal issue.

The delegation included Representatives Jim Banks (R-IN), Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Kevin Hern (R-OK) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).

In addition to the round-table discussion, the delegation toured a recently constructed detention and processing facility in Eagle Pass and visited with Border Patrol personnel.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.



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DHS Secretary to Visit Texas Border Region

Law enforcement sources report that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will visit several cities along the Texas border, including the newly opened residential detention center for unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in Carrizo Springs. The trip is slated for Saturday, March 6.

Sources report Mayorkas will be accompanied by former national security adviser and current Director of the Domestic Policy Council of the United States, Susan Rice. The visit comes as migrant apprehensions along the border continue to rise. Exacerbating the situation are more family unit and unaccompanied child arrivals.

The trip will provide the opportunity for Secretary Mayorkas to see first-hand what he describes as a “challenge” and not a “crisis.” Last week, Secretary Mayorkas told reporters when asked if there was a crisis at the border, he answered, “No … There is a challenge at the border that we are managing.”

The current apprehension average for unaccompanied children is slightly more than 400 per day. Border Patrol stations are experiencing overcrowding as they look to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to place the UACs in suitable housing.

In the Rio Grande Valley, sources report the Border Patrol’s level of UAC detention is more than 300% capacity. HHS is falling behind on the responsibility provide suitable housing for UACs even after the re-opening of the Carrizo Springs facility.

Law enforcement sources report that most of the UACs they encounter are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Nearly 30,000 have been apprehended since the start of Fiscal Year 2021.

The “challenge” will also be noticeable when Secretary Mayorkas sees firsthand the increasing number migrants being released along the Texas border, sources say. Local communities are reporting issues with released migrants testing positive for COVID-19 and leaving the border areas.

Sources say they have little hope that the DHS executive visit will lead to real situational changes. Many believe the recent policy pivots and amnesty legislation will only cause more migrants to make the dangerous trek to the United States.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas Sector.



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