Should Border Patrol Continue Rejecting Citizen Donations?
Should Border Patrol facilities continue rejecting donations?
by Countable | 6.25.19
What’s the story?
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection is turning away donations of toys, soap, diapers, medicine, and toothbrushes for migrant children housed in detention centers.
- In response to reports detailing how migrant children were being held in unsanitary conditions, groups of citizens have been bringing items to holding facilities—only to be turned away.
- The Texas Tribune reported from one of these facilities, in Clint, near El Paso.
- “It makes me feel powerless knowing there’s children taking care of toddlers and little kids,” said Gabriel Acuña, who grew up in Clint and attempted to visit the facility on Sunday. “Knowing what’s happening in your community and that you can’t give these kids supplies to clean or clothe themselves—it’s heartbreaking.”
“If the government isn’t going to do anything, then let the community help and do something for these kids,” Acuña said.
- Texas state Rep. Terry Canales (D) tweeted a letter Saturday to CBP, offering “the full support of the Rio Grande Valley community” to care for migrant children in custody. He told the Tribune that Border Patrol officials informed his office they don’t accept donations.
“The whole situation is disgusting, but I’m always hopeful that the better part of us as human beings will shine through,” Canales said. “Those children feel like the world has given up on them, and we have to fight for them.”
- Border Patrol has not responded to requests for comments. But Theresa Brown, a former policy advisor for CBP, told the Tribune there’s a legal reason why government agencies aren’t accepting donations: the Antideficiency Act.
- The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from “accepting voluntary services” – including money and donations – beyond what Congress has allocated to them.
- “It’s partially a constitutional thing about Congress controlling the purse and only being able to spend money that Congress gives, but it’s also about ethics,” Brown said.
“Without a change in law, DHS, CPB and Border Patrol cannot accept those private donations.”
What do you think?
Should Congress change the laws to allow for private donations? Or would it create ethical conflicts? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: Armando Martinez Photography)
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