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

Just Posted

Fraser Valley community leaders come together to build a stronger more vibrant future

Event convened by Grant Thornton LLP and is part of the firm’s Vibrant Communities initiative

New program offers job support for 55 and older

STRIDE program offered by Archway Community Services in Abbotsford

Sweeney Singers host annual Christmas concert in Abbotsford

Event takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at St. James Church

SLIDESHOW: The Fraser Valley Auto Mall food drive and convoy

Convoy heads down South Fraser Way, delivers food and money to the Archway Food Bank of Abbotsford

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Most Read