Border official resigns amid uproar over migrant children
HOUSTON (AP) — The acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection resigned today amid an uproar over the discovery of migrant children being held in pitiful conditions at one of the agency's stations in Texas.
Acting Commissioner John Sanders' departure deepened the sense of crisis and added to the rapid turnover inside the agencies responsible for enforcing President Donald Trump's hardline immigration priorities as the U.S. deals with record numbers of migrant families coming across the border.
In a message to employees, Sanders said he would step down on July 5. He did not give a reason for leaving.
"Although I will leave it to you to determine whether I was successful, I can unequivocally say that helping support the amazing men and women of CBP has been the most fulfilling and satisfying opportunity of my career," he said.
In an interview last week, Sanders blamed the problems in detention on a lack of money. He called on Congress to pass a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill to address the crisis – legislation the House was planning to take up later today.
At the White House, Trump said that he did not ask for Sanders' resignation – adding that he doesn't think he has ever spoken to the man – but that he is "moving some people around into different locations" amid the crisis.
While activists welcomed Sanders' departure, Trump defended U.S. border authorities, saying: "The laws are so bad and the asylum rules and laws are so bad that our Border Patrol people, who are so incredible, aren't allowed to do their jobs."
The unprecedented surge of migrant families has left U.S. immigration detention centers severely overcrowded and taxed the government's ability to provide medical care and other attention. Six children have died since September after being detained by border agents.
The Trump administration has faced a barrage of criticism in recent days over conditions inside the Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, first reported by The Associated Press: inadequate food, lack of medical care, no soap, and older children trying to care for toddlers.