The death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody is prompting lawmakers and law enforcers to explain how something like this could happen, and how the system is at a breaking point.
The head of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, spoke to Fox News reporters about the boy, identified as Carlos Hernandez Vasquez, on May 22.
Judd said, when there is severe overcrowding of people held in custody for six days like young Vasquez, “without showers, and without proper facilities, bedding facilities and so on and so forth—you’re going to have problems like this.”
“And if we don’t have Congress step up to give us the funding that we need, we’re going to continue to see these issues arise,” he said.
Before the humanitarian crisis was critical and evidently heading that way, the Trump administration had been seeking funding for building a border wall from the start.
Only in the last year has it become clear how critical and dangerous the southern border activities have become.
Consequently, President Donald Trump asked for $4.5 billion in emergency border funding on May 1.
Even then, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan told Congress, “Simply put, our system is full, and we are well beyond our capacity.”
It’s not entirely clear how much funding has been granted so far. Although Democratic leaders have agree to fund a portion of the emergency fund request, they have rejected more money for the Office of Refugee and Resettlement, which is in charge of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border this year, reported Politico.
The proposal and budget appropriations are expected to be ironed out by Congress before Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, the crisis at the border has intensified to an unprecedented level.
White House reaction
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders warned the border crisis will get worse if Democrats don’t act.
Sanders spoke to Fox reporters from the White House and said that what happened to young Vasquez was an “absolutely horrible case” and should not have happened. She said this is exactly what the president has talked about and what he is trying to prevent.
Sanders talked about the supplemental funding that the White House requested just two weeks ago to handle the crisis, and “Democrats have still failed to do that,” she said.
She said, “It will get worse if members of Congress and the Democratic Party continue to refuse to acknowledge the problem” instead of helping to fix it.