Under the agreement, the government also agreed to swiftly release the children from detention. To get around Flores and detain adults traveling with children, the Trump administration has separated families at the border. When that policy initiated an immense backlash, the administration produced regulations to replace Flores, but a federal judge ultimately rejected that effort.
Despite the Trump administration’s dislike of the deal, it still met Flores’ food and water requirements. The inspector general reports in 2018, 2019 Other 2020 We found that all the border patrol facilities visited by the investigators had children’s formulas available. A Press release from Customs and Border Protection in 2019 also noted that the facilities provided the formula.
Congress itself has explicitly cited infant formula in funding legislation to protect customs and borders. For example, lawmakers donated $ 40.2 million to the agency in 2019 “Products like food, formula, and diapers.”
Like most government agencies, customs and border protection purchase supplies in bulk, typically months or years in advance. For example, the agency awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a food distributor in 2015 for five years of meals for migrant children detained in the Rio Grande Valley sector.
Navigating the shortage of children’s formulas in the United States
Customs and Border Protection did not answer questions about its tender process for the formula. But the agency said in a statement that “ensuring that migrants, including children and infants, in our custody have met their basic needs is in line with this administration’s commitment to ensure safe, orderly and humane processes at our border “. The agency, the note reads, “complies with all applicable regulations for the purchase of products used in CBP facilities”.
Steven L. Schooner, a professor of government procurement law at George Washington University, was skeptical that the agency’s purchases had any effect on the current infant formula supply.
“I am extremely confident that any volume of formula that DHS / CBP purchases is statistically equivalent to zero in terms of market share,” he wrote in an email, referring to the agency and Department of Homeland Security. “In fact, I would be stunned if the government bought a significant volume.”