Acting U.S. border boss quits amid uproar over migrant children

Trump administration slammed over conditions at Texas facility such as lack of food and medical care

This June 20, 2019, file frame from video shows the entrance of a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

The acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection resigned Tuesday amid an uproar over the discovery of migrant children being held in filthy conditions at one of the agency’s stations in Texas.

Commissioner John Sanders’ departure deepened the sense of crisis and added to the rapid turnover inside the agencies responsible for enforcing President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration priorities.

The Trump administration is dealing with unprecedented numbers of migrant families coming across the border, a surge that has left detention centres severely overcrowded and taxed the government’s ability to provide medical care and other attention.

The administration has faced a barrage of criticism in recent days over conditions inside the Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, first reported by The Associated Press: inadequate food, lack of medical care, and older children trying to care for toddlers.

In a message to employees, Sanders said he would step down on July 5. He did not give a reason for leaving.

“Although I will leave it to you to determine whether I was successful, I can unequivocally say that helping support the amazing men and women of CBP has been the most fulfilling and satisfying opportunity of my career,” he said.

In an interview with AP last week, Sanders blamed the problems in detention on a lack of funding. He called on Congress to pass a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill to address the crisis — legislation the House was planning to take up Tuesday.

Previously CBP’s chief operating officer, Sanders was named acting commissioner in April after the agency’s previous leader, Kevin McAleenan, became acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Other key DHS agencies also have interim or acting directors, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

ICE on Saturday delayed a long-planned operation to sweep U.S. cities and arrest hundreds of people accused of flouting orders to leave the country, days after Trump’s tweets about the operation alarmed immigrant families and advocates. Former ICE acting director Thomas Homan, a Trump administration ally, then went on television to accuse McAleenan of leaking information about the operation because he opposed it.

CBP is the agency that apprehends and first detains migrant parents and children crossing the Mexican border.

READ MORE: Nearly 6,000 abuse complaints at U.S. migrant children shelters

In one case reported in Clint, attorneys said a two-year-old boy without a diaper was being watched by older children. Several youngsters had the flu. Many were separated from extended family members like aunts and uncles who brought them to the border; others were teenage mothers with babies.

Many children were moved out of the facility in recent days. But around the same time that Sanders announced his resignation, his agency said officials had moved more than 100 children back to the station.

Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Vernon shelter

Homeless shelters in the city have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Armstrong food sharing program set to return

Armstrong Food Initiative Society will start its produce sharing program Monday, July 13

Boil water notice issued for Vernon’s Dunsmir Road area

Map shows which customers are advised to use caution when consuming water

Single lane traffic for Bella Vista in Vernon next week

Work planned for Monday, Wednesday to complete utility installation

Lake Country traffic bottleneck solution still lacks funding

No money committed yet but province will unveil solution options for Highway 97- Beaver Lake Road-Glenmore Road intersection this fall

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read