A number of concerned citizens went to facilities such as Clint in Texas but were turned away saying they could not accept any donations. Border authorities said that accepting these would be illegal.
The humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexico border detention centers is deepening with each passing day with horrible conditions being reported. A number of noble souls went out of their way to make donations of basic necessities such as food, clothes, and toiletries to these centers but to their surprise, they were sent back because border patrol authorities told them that they didn't accept donations. Austin Savage who heard about the poor hygienic conditions of the migrant children and women at these centers wanted to help out. He filled his van up with toothpaste tubes, soaps, and diapers and other supplies and drove to a facility of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in Clint, Texas.
Let alone being able to give these basic necessities to the people in need, the agents refused to even speak to him. Savage told NPR, "The agents were just choosing to ignore us." Not one to give up hope, he tried again for the next two days but suffered the same fate. It's not just ordinary people who failed, even a state lawmaker, who tried to help with donations was similarly discouraged. Terry Canales had heard reports of children suffering in squalid conditions at the centers and knew what he had to do.
He sent a letter to local border patrol officials asking what was needed at the centers. The response left him shocked. An email from a Border Patrol representative to Canales said, "We don't accept donations" according to a CNN report. He added, "It just befuddles me and I think it's just heartbreaking to know that there are so many people that want to help, and that help is being denied for no definable reasons that anybody's been able to communicate."
I think we all know why Border Patrol is turning away donations. They have plenty of supplies and basic necessities..... They just don't want to give these things to brown children. That's it. That's the crux. Trump and Republicans deem these infants and children criminals.— SillyIlly1 (@Illy1Silly) June 27, 2019
"United States Customs and Border Protection is turning away donations of toys, soap, toothbrushes, diapers and medicine for migrant children housed on the border." #migrantchildrenhttps://t.co/37YxI6amXW— Brian Fraga 🇺🇲🇵🇹🇻🇦 (@brianfraga) June 25, 2019
As per the border officials, they state that they are not running out of supplies. An official stated that it was illegal to accept donations but that they were looking into how they could do so in the future. He said, "We're using operational funding to provide those things. But those things are available now and they have been continuously. So we are looking at the possibility of using some of those donations going forward. But those items, it's important to note, are available now."
Theresa Cardinal Brown, a former advisor to the CBP and current head of immigration and cross-border policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington said, "The short answer is it's against the law. The law in question, Brown says, is known as the Antideficiency Act. That law is a law passed by Congress that says the government cannot accept goods and services without remuneration. Because it cannot spend or use things that have not been appropriated to it by Congress."
More cruelty and incompetence. The Trump administration is turning away donations collected for immigrant children held in detention centers. Families... https://t.co/dYKdLCBQN0— Steven Greenstein (@SGreenstein1) June 27, 2019
SHAME ON THEM FOR NOT HAVING THE THINGS THEY NEED IN THE FIRST PLACE AND DAMN THEIR EYES FOR REFUSING DONATIONS THAT DON'T COST THEM ANYTHING TO ACCEPT Border Patrol turning away donations of diapers, toys: report https://t.co/ERq4bmhllk— laurabell (@cotureme) June 25, 2019
Another person who tried to donate to the centers, Gabriel Acuña was surprised that no one was at the border patrol facility in his hometown of Clint, Texas. The door was locked and the lobby was empty. "Obviously the community wants to help out. Let the community get involved, if anybody higher up in terms of the administration or likewise in government is not able to do so," he said.
Talking about trying to end the current impasse, Canales talked about a "semi-productive conversation" border authorities. He said they seemed to be "receptive to trying to come to some sort of arrangement. So the lines of communication are open. But the reality is Border Patrol is overwhelmed, and whether they've got the monetary funding to provide the resources and whether they can provide the resources are two different things."