California human rights group says CBP misspent millions on ‘toys’

Border Report

Agency says report is just an opinion, violations were 'technical in nature'

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection has spent millions of dollars on dog food, riot helmets, dirt bikes, boats and all-terrain vehicles for the Border Patrol, money that should’ve gone to children and others held in detention centers.

The Government Accountability Office released a report Thursday saying CBP misused about $112 million. All of the expenses were incurred by the U.S. Border Patrol, which is overseen by CBP.

The money had been allocated by Congress last year to provide health, medical and hygiene products for those in custody. It was part of an emergency funds package given to the Border Patrol in 2019 after several children died while in custody and it was discovered that many others didn’t have the bare necessities in detention centers.

“To use money that was exclusively appropriated to buy food and medicine for kids and their parents and, instead, using it to buy riot helmets, dog food, ATVs is the definition of depravity,” said Hiram Soto with Alliance San Diego.

CBP has said it made a mistake by charging some expenditures to the wrong account.

“This was not a GAO audit, but a legal opinion. That is why we were not given an opportunity to review the opinion before it was published,” according to a CBP statement sent to Border Report.

“CBP is aware of the recently-published GAO opinion on its use of supplemental funding appropriated in Fiscal Year 2019. We fully cooperated with GAO throughout their inquiry. As the opinion notes, CBP charged a small subset of expenses in Fiscal Year 2019 to the incorrect account. We are working to itemize all such expenses, and correct our accounts as recommended by the GAO. We emphasize that (and GAO’s opinion does not suggest otherwise) all of CBP’s obligations were for lawful objects related to agency operations and the care of those in our custody; the violations identified are technical in nature and prompt remedial action will be taken.”

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