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June 11, 2020

GAO: CBP Broke the Law When it Spent Emergency Funds on Dirt Bikes and Dog Food Instead of on Migrant Care

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a decision that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) violated the law when it used funds in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019     (H.R. 3401). 

The legislation contained line item appropriations of $112 million for “consumables and medical care” and $708 million for “establishing and operating migrant care and processing facilities.”  However, during the course of an audit requested by the Committee, GAO found that CBP used these funds contrary to the law.  For example, CBP used the “consumable and medical care” line item for dirt bikes, boats, computer network upgrades, HVAC improvements, and canine supplements, food, and leashes. 

“At the Trump Administration’s request, Congress passed emergency funding legislation last year to help address the humanitarian crisis at the border largely created by this Administration and consistently made worse with repeated politically charged, anti-immigrant policies. Congress provided this additional funding for the primary purpose of improving conditions for migrants at the border and ensuring migrants were receiving adequate healthcare after the deaths of multiple children in custody. Instead of helping migrants and improving conditions on the ground, CBP then broke the law by spending this taxpayer money on things that were not authorized—such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and computer systems. This callous disregard for the law is yet another example of this Administration’s continuing failure to carry out its duty to provide humane conditions and medical care for migrants in its care.”

Link to Decision

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