The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol basically just admitted openly that it has all the supplies needed to take care of the children separated from their families at the border—-toothpaste, soap, beds to sleep on– CBP just won't give any of the stuff to the detained kids.
"We're using operational funding to provide those things. But those things are available now and they have been continuously… But those items, it's important to note, are available now."
Weird quote, right? That's a Border Patrol official talking to reporters on Tuesday.
CBP doesn't want your soap.
— Terry Canales (@TerryCanales40) June 22, 2019
As the Texas Tribune first reported, A Border Patrol official told one Texas lawmaker the agency doesn't accept donations for these facilities, where children are reportedly being held in dangerously unsafe and neglectful conditions.
Why wouldn't the agency accept donations? CBP officials said Tuesday that they aren't running low on supplies, but are looking into whether they can accept donations in the future. And a former CBP official told CNN it would be illegal for the agency to accept donations from the public.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, a CBP official said that the agency is working with its lawyers to see whether it can accept donations in the future.
Asked about reports that donations of hygiene products were not being accepted by CBP, the official said the agency isn't running low on such supplies.
"We're using operational funding to provide those things. But those things are available now and they have been continuously," he said. "So we are looking at the possibility of using some of those donations going forward. But those items, it's important to note, are available now."
Theresa Cardinal Brown says there's one clear reason why CBP wouldn't be accepting donations.
"The short answer is it's against the law," says Brown, who worked for CBP as a policy adviser from 2005-2007 and now is the head of immigration and cross-border policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.
The law in question, Brown says, is known as the Antideficiency Act.
"That law is a law passed by Congress that says the government cannot accept goods and services without remuneration. Because it cannot spend or use things that have not been appropriated to it by Congress," Brown said. "If (CBP) was able to accept donations outside of that it would be overspending what it was authorized to spend."
In addition, Brown said ethical considerations would come up "if the executive gets to decide from whom it gets to accept donations and for what."