CBP Needs to Strengthen Its Oversight and Policy to Better Care for Migrants Needing Medical Attention
CBP needs better oversight and policy to adequately safeguard migrants experiencing medical emergencies or illnesses along the southwest border. According to CBP’s policies, once an individual is in custody, CBP agents and officers are required to conduct health interviews, and “regular and frequent” “welfare checks” to identify individuals who may be experiencing serious medical conditions. However, CBP could not always demonstrate staff conducted required medical screenings or consistent welfare checks for all 98 individuals whose medical cases we reviewed. This occurred because CBP did not provide sufficient oversight and clear policies and procedures, or ensure officers and agents were adequately trained to implement medical support policies. As a result, CBP may not identify individuals experiencing medical emergencies or provide appropriate care in a timely manner. CBP concurred with all three of our recommendations, which when implemented, should improve medical attention and procedures for migrants at the southwest border.