US border chief quits amid outcry over child detainees

Washington: The acting head of the US Customs and Border Protection agency announced his resignation on Tuesday amid a public outcry over alarming detention conditions of migrant children in Texas. John Sanders, appointed to the post just two months ago, said in a letter obtained by several US media outlets that he planned to step down as acting CBP commissioner on July 5.

Sanders' departure coincides with the revelation of unsanitary detention conditions for children at an overcrowded Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, a sign of the increasing strain on resources due to soaring numbers of arrests at the US-Mexico border.

The conditions at the center in Clint were described by a team of lawyers, doctors and others who visited the facility about 30 kilometers southeast of El Paso.

Nearly 250 children were transferred out of Clint on Monday but a CBP official said on Tuesday that about 100 were being sent back there.

“The three-year old before me had matted hair, a hacking cough, muddy pants, and eyes that fluttered closed with fatigue,” wrote Clara Long, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who accompanied the team.

“Children at Clint told us they don’t have regular access to showers or clean clothes, with some saying they hadn't been allowed to bathe over periods of weeks,”she said.

Sanders has led CBP since April, when President Trump tapped CBP chief Kevin McAleenan to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

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