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Overcrowded conditions with lack of proper food and access to hygiene necessities in border detention centers have created "an acute and worsening crisis" in need of "immediate attention and action," according to a report released last week by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. Almost every day, Americans read and hear horror stories from a variety of sources about life at the centers, including reports of children's deaths and mistreatment - including sexual abuse - of detainees by federal agents.

All Americans, regardless of political party or positions on issues related to immigration, should be troubled, if not appalled at the picture emerging from these border centers.

We do not diminish the difficult challenges faced by federal immigration personnel at the border or condemn as a whole the agencies tasked with managing what is an unprecedented crisis of numbers, but as a nation we can and must do better.

What's needed is recognition of the problem and a break from shifting blame within the Trump administration and within both parties and chambers of Congress.

It's time for our leaders to join in forging solutions - at a minimum, short-term solutions - so those detained at the border are treated the way human beings should be treated.

Why not dispatch a bipartisan congressional team to the border for a firsthand look? Working with, not against, federal agencies, the team could assess the depth of the challenge, identify the biggest needs and brainstorm strategies.

Agreeing to long-term solutions for immigration issues through comprehensive reform will take more time, of course. In the meantime, federal departments and Congress must together make substantive improvements at border detention camps an immediate priority. 

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