Agents feared riots over poor conditions at border station: report

Border agents feared riots over poor conditions at an El Paso, Texas, border station as far back as May, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general report shared with The Hill Monday.

Inspectors noted during a May 7 tour of the station, the name of which is redacted in the report, that only four showers were available for 756 immigrants, over half of which were being held in tents outside the facility.


Those being held inside were kept in cells that were maxed at over five times their intended capacity, according to reports.

The report says that the conditions and overcrowding made border agents fear unrest.

Agents reported taking sick migrants to the hospital five times a day, treating 75 immigrants for lice in a day and trying to quarantine outbreaks of flu and the chickenpox.

The report's release on Monday comes after new acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said that reports of poor conditions for children at a border station in the El Paso sector were "unsubstantiated."

It also follows reports from lawyers allowed in a Clint, Texas, facility who found children taking care of other children and living in soiled clothing.

Congress passed a bill last week that would increase space at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Health and Human Services facilities to alleviate the overcrowding. It is not clear whether that measure would improve things like lack of showers or food.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on the report. The DHS Office of Inspector General did not immediately confirm the report shared by NBC.

Updated at 10:30 a.m.