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Thu Jul 11, 2019, 09:30 AM

DHS Admits It Doesn't Have to Reject Donations to Migrants

Some have argued it’s illegal for the feds to take donated supplies for detained migrants, but Homeland Security has not embraced that logic.

Sam Brodey
Congressional Reporter

Published 07.11.19 4:47AM ET

Americans have responded to reports of abysmal conditions at federally-run government migrant detention centers—where many, including children, lack access to basic necessities—by sending them donations of supplies like soap, toothbrushes, diapers, and toys.

So far, those donations have been rejected by the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the public and lawmakers alike angry and scratching their heads as to why. But the agency, which runs many of these detention centers, is now acknowledging that there is little legal basis to justify turning down donations from the public to help improve conditions for migrants.

Former DHS officials have contended in the press that it would be against the law for the government to accept donations of supplies for migrants provided by private citizens due to an obscure law called the Antideficiency Act, which bars federal agencies from using anything that has not been paid for through funds appropriated by Congress.

Unless, of course, the agency is DHS, which could take advantage of a massive loophole provided for them to do just that in existing law.


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