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House passes migrant aid, border agency head quits

AFP File Photo

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said on Tuesday its acting commissioner is resigning as House Democrats passed a $4.5 billion funding package to ease a migrant surge that has subjected children detained at U.S-Mexico border to overcrowded conditions.

The acting head of the U.S. customs and border protection is stepping down next week amid outrage over its treatment of migrant children, according to U.S. media reports.

The departure of John Sanders, acting head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), follows Democrats in Congress passing a $4.5 billion migrant aid package on Tuesday.

Despite urging Congress to tackle problems at the border, President Donald Trump has vowed to veto the package.

The agency has been under bipartisan fire for failing to provide basic humanitarian assistance to migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, especially since attorneys found more than 300 migrant children in an overcrowded Texas border patrol station last week, with no access to adequate food or water.

According to media reports, Trump plans to replace Sanders with Mark Morgan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who has downplayed the problems at detention facilities.

"I just don't agree that it's egregious conditions, like a systemic problem," he told CBS News on Tuesday, brushing aside the reports of poor housing and sanitary conditions at facilities.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, who also chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the leadership change at CBP "only worsens the chaos at the department."

"Leadership changes won't change the fact that the Trump administration's cruel and abhorrent immigration policies are complete failures," Thompson told reporters.

The migrant aid package, meant to ease the humanitarian needs of mostly Central American families seeking asylum at overcrowded border patrol stations, easily passed the Democrat-led House, 230-195.

Despite Trump's harsh rhetoric against migrants and asylum seekers, the number of migrants apprehended at the border surged in May to the highest level for over a decade.

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