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April 14, 2020

DHS Inspector General Amends Public Summary of Report on Child Death in CBP Custody After Shortcomings Identified by Chairman Thompson

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, received notice from Joseph V. Cuffari, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that he had amended his office’s public summary of a report examining the death of an eight-year-old Guatemalan child in U.S. Border Patrol custody in December 2018.  Chairman Thompson has been sharply critical of how the Office of Inspector General (OIG) handled its investigation of this child’s death, as well as the investigation of another child’s death in CBP custody.

In a letter to the Inspector General last month, Chairman Thompson wrote that “the public summary of the OIG’s report of investigation about the 8-year-old’s death—which is less than a page in length—excludes such crucial details that the information it provides is inaccurate and misleading.” Chairman Thompson’s letter enumerated the many troubling shortcomings in both the public summary of the Inspector General’s report—as well as in the full report provided to the Committee.  Chairman Thompson explained that these shortcomings, “raise significant concerns about the thoroughness of the office’s reviews as well as the willingness of the office to conduct in-depth examinations of sensitive topics.”

Chairman Thompson released the following statement regarding the amended public summary issued by the Inspector General:

“I am pleased that the Inspector General recognized the profound omissions and errors in the public summary and amended it.  While this does not address the many shortcomings in the underlying report, correction of the public summary was essential to maintaining lawmakers’ trust.  The death of a minor in the custody of DHS is a serious and sensitive topic, and is it is incumbent on the Inspector General to thoroughly and independently investigate these matters.

“I am glad the Inspector General has also committed to testify personally and in public before the Committee, and I look forward to receiving his testimony as soon as the Committee can reschedule its hearing. It is clear that the Administration needs to be doing much more to protect the lives of children in its custody, and the Committee will continue to conduct rigorous oversight of this issue.”

Amended Report Summary

Original Report Summary

Letter from IG

Thompson letter to IG

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