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People Are Trying To Donate To Detained Migrants. Border Patrol Won't Accept It.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

People who attempted to donate soap, diapers and other supplies to children held in detention facilities on the Texas-Mexico border claim federal agents rejected their offers.

A state lawmaker is working with federal officials to change that policy.

Austin Savage said he wanted to do his part to make life a little easier for children held at the migrant detention facility in Clint, near El Paso.

“My attempt was to provide them with these supplies,” Savage said.

The facility faces criticism for allegedly housing the children in unsanitary conditions.

After learning about these claims, Savage loaded up a van full of supplies and led a team to the facility.

But he said when he arrived, the agents in the parking lot refused to speak to him.

“The agents were just choosing to ignore us. We actually tried to grab their attention both Sunday and on Monday, and neither attempt was successful,” Savage said.

Edinburg State Rep. Terry Canales said the conditions at the migrant facility are unsafe.

“There’s children that are nonresponsive. They lack the basic necessities of diapers, toothbrushes, towels because they’re not showering,” Canales said.

Canales also tried to help open an avenue for donations. He reached out to Border Patrol officials, hoping to work out an agreement that allows non-profit groups to donate supplies to these detention centers.

"We quickly received an email response saying, ‘We don’t accept donations,'" Canales said.

Border Patrol did not immediately respond to Texas Public Radio's request for comment. A Customs and Border Protection official said Tuesday that the Clint facility is not running low on supplies, including clothing and hygiene products. CBP also said it was looking into whether the facilities can legally accept donations.

Canales said the children should be well-treated because they are in temporary custody of the United States government, and he said he would not give up.

Savage said he wouldn't either. He said he's going to keep trying to get his supplies to detained kids.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at RPoppe@TPR.org and on Twitter at @RyanPoppe1.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.