From February 28 to March 2, 2023, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted unannounced inspections of four U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in the Laredo area, specifically three Border Patrol stations and one Office of Field Operations port of entry.
The Laredo Border Patrol sector is responsible for 136 Southwest border miles along the Rio Grande River between Mexico and the United States. The area of responsibility stretches from the U.S. and Mexico border in Texas to the Oklahoma and Arkansas state lines.
CBP’s total encounters in the Laredo area of responsibility have increased significantly between FY 2020 (71,886) and FY 2023 (180,388) through June 2023. For FY 2023 to date, Laredo encounters make up approximately 10 percent of overall encounters along the Southwest border. As of June 2023, CBP’s total encounters in the Laredo area of responsibility have more than doubled from FY 2020.
The inspections revealed instances of high time in custody in some Border Patrol holding facilities. Of the 1,008 detainees in custody during the site visits, CBP held 736 (or 73 percent) longer than prescribed by the National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (TEDS), which generally limit time in custody to 72 hours.
OIG also found CBP faced challenges properly documenting and securing personal property. Three of the four facilities inspected did not accurately track or record property on inventory logs or in the respective data systems.
In addition, OIG found inaccurate data in detainee custody logs at all inspected CBP facilities. Detainee custody logs in Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations systems of record inaccurately recorded or did not properly account for amenities provided to detainees in custody.
However, the facilities generally met TEDS standards for cleanliness, food and beverages, supplies and hygiene items, bedding, and medical care.
OIG made three recommendations to improve the management of and conditions in CBP short-term detention facilities in the Laredo area. CBP agreed and set out actions to meet the recommendations such as providing additional training.