April 30, 2024 

Statement Urging Congressional Oversight of CBP Medical Budget 

WASHINGTON — Today, Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Troy Miller testified at a hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations for the President’s fiscal year 2025 budget request for CBP, requesting nearly $20 billion for the agency. 

At the hearing, Representative Lauren Underwood (D-Ill) asked Acting Commissioner Miller what changes the agency made in operations and oversight of its contractor, Loyal Source Government Services, following the death of 8-year-old Anadith Reyes-Alvarez in May of 2023 while in CBP custody due to failures by the contractor. Despite this preventable death and the award of the $1.5 billion contract to a different vendor in 2023, Loyal Source remains the contractor for medical services in CBP facilities across the border.  

Government Accountability Project represents multiple whistleblowers who publicly raised concerns about CBP’s oversight of Loyal Source and its response to Anadith’s death after having repeatedly brought their concerns to senior CBP leadership to no avail. These disclosures reveal that CBP’s contracting office failed to take remedial action against Loyal Source prior to Anadith’s death, and that CBP senior leaders both knew of this oversight failure and blamed whistleblowers in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer for the death. Whistleblower disclosures also detail that the Acting CBP Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alexander Eastman, purportedly brought in to improve CBP medical operations, has instead prioritized budget expenditures that do not further CBP’s critical medical mission.  

In response to questioning by Rep. Underwood about changes to ensure that future contracts are awarded to “high quality medical providers,” Miller testified that “for the integrity of the contract” CBP passed the responsibility of contractor vetting to the Department of Homeland Security.

  

Government Accountability Project Immigration Counsel, Andrea Meza, stated: 

“Missing from today’s testimony was acknowledgement from Acting Commissioner Miller of the multiple whistleblower disclosures he has received regarding CBP’s fiscal oversight of its contract with Loyal Source, one of the agency’s most expensive contracts. Whistleblowers have faced retaliation from CBP leaders for internally raising alarm about contracting failures that resulted in a child’s preventable death. We have also sent reports to Acting Commissioner Miller on behalf of current employees describing ongoing mismanagement in CBP’s medical operations, with no response. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, Congress should aggressively pursue the concerns whistleblowers have brought to light of fraud, waste, and abuse in CBP’s medical contracting and leadership before renewing or approving additional funds to the agency, not only to prevent mismanagement, but also to prevent a future death in custody.”  

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director  

Email: [email protected] 

Phone: 202.926.3304  

 

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. 

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