Senators who visited border ask DHS to improve migrant care

WASHINGTON — After visiting migrant detention centers near the southern border, Senate Democrats are requesting that the Department of Homeland Security make immediate changes to its detention centers, citing "serious concerns" with conditions.

In a letter signed by 13 Democrats who visited Customs and Border Patrol processing centers near the border last week, the senators list 18 actions the agency should take immediately that they say would ensure humane treatment of migrant children and result in better oversight of the facilities.

CBP processing centers have been scrutinized as migrants, including children, have been held in sub par conditions far longer than the 72-hour limit with reports of abuse and mistreatment.

RELATED: Melania Trump visits border detention facility

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Melania Trump visits border detention facility
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport to attend a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport to attend a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump takes part in a roundtable discussion at Luthern Social Services of the South's Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas on June 21, 2018. - First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to the US-Mexican border on Thursday, June 21, 2018 as her husband's administration seeks to quell a firestorm over migrant family separations. President Donald Trump first announced the trip by his wife, who will tour a non-profit social services center for migrant children, as well as a customs and border patrol processing center, according to a statement from her office. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks through the facility with program director Rogelio de la Cerda Jr. after a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump takes part in a roundtable discussion at Luthern Social Services of the South's Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas on June 21, 2018. - First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to the US-Mexican border on Thursday, June 21, 2018 as her husband's administration seeks to quell a firestorm over migrant family separations. President Donald Trump first announced the trip by his wife, who will tour a non-profit social services center for migrant children, as well as a customs and border patrol processing center, according to a statement from her office. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks through the facility after a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump takes part in a roundtable discussion at Luthern Social Services of the South's Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas on June 21, 2018. - First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to the US-Mexican border on Thursday, June 21, 2018 as her husband's administration seeks to quell a firestorm over migrant family separations. President Donald Trump first announced the trip by his wife, who will tour a non-profit social services center for migrant children, as well as a customs and border patrol processing center, according to a statement from her office. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks through the facility after a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump participates in a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump walks through the facility after a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump participates in a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump participates in a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MCALLEN, TX - JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump participates in a round table discussion with doctors and social workers at the Upbring New Hope Childrens Center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South and contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services June 21, 2018 in McAllen, Texas. The first lady traveled to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that migrant children taken from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The senators are asking acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and acting Commissioner of CBP, Mark Morgan, to respond to their request by Thursday and provide a telephone briefing by Aug. 10 with an update on if the requests are being addressed.

Among the senators' requests: improve the water quality at the McAllen Border Patrol Station; provide schedules to Congress indicating that migrants can make phone calls, eat, take showers and brush their teeth; darken rooms so children can sleep.

The letter notes that the senators want to know if the migrants can report claims of abuse and what type of medical and psychological care the migrants have access to, and if DHW will support additional independent monitoring of facilities.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is the highest ranking member of Congress to visit the border. He and 12 other Democratic senators visited the Border Patrol processing facility in McAllen, as well as processing centers Donna and Ursula, also in Texas.

"The searing accounts about the conditions endured by migrant families are true. We saw overcrowding. We heard migrants tell us that they were unable to brush their teeth, shower, call their families, or access feminine hygiene products," Schumer said on the Senate floor earlier this week. "We saw children in soiled clothing, caged and expressionless — heartbreaking, thousand-mile stares on the faces of toddlers…where smiles and laughter should have been."

The letter notes that a July inspector general report instructed DHS to "take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults."

Aaron Hull, head of the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector, will be reassigned to Detroit on Monday, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

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