The recommendations made to the court could help federal agencies deal with the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border
. The filings were submitted by Dr. Paul Wise and Andrea Ordin, a pair of monitors appointed by a federal judge in California to report on the conditions of minors at US Customs and Border Protection facilities and Office of Refugee Resettlement emergency intake sites under the Flores settlement, which sets national standards for the humane treatment of minors in detention.
On March 30, more than 3,000 unaccompanied migrant children were being held inside the Donna facility, more than 500 of whom were under the age of 12, said the report. About 2,500 of the children had been in custody longer than the 72-hour legal limit, with a "large number" of them residing in the Donna facility or in Border Patrol stations for "as many as several weeks."
Overcrowding inside the Donna facility on certain days was so extensive that "no space remains between sleeping mats," the report said. During Wise's visit in March, more than 500 children under the age of 12 had been held at the facility for more than a week and the caregiver staffing was "profoundly inadequate." Available caregivers had to focus on the highest priority children, particularly very young children with special health needs.
Since March 7, 2021, occupancy at CBP's Donna facility has ranged from 2,200 to 4,500, the report said, well above the pandemic-era capacity of just 500.