Biden administration silent on reports of abuse, filth and lack of medical care at child migrant facility
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- Migrant children housed at a federal facility near El Paso, Texas, allegedly did not have access to showers, clean clothes or their case managers, according to CBS News.
- “We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately,” an unidentified trainer with the Chenega Corporation allegedly said in a recording obtained by Reason.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not respond to several requests for comment about the allegations.
The Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding allegations of poor conditions and inappropriate contact at a facility alleged in recordings obtained by Reason Monday.
An unidentified trainer with the Chenega Corporation, a company providing staffing at an emergency facility housing migrant minors at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas, alleged during a training session for federal employees that inappropriate contact between children and staff had occurred, and described “filthy” dorm conditions, according to a recording obtained by Reason. Migrant children housed at Fort Bliss also told attorneys they allegedly did not have access to showers, clean clothes or their case managers, CBS News reported.
“We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately,” the trainer allegedly told employees during the training session, Reason reported. “Is that OK with you guys? I hope not. We have also caught minors with minors, which is, you know—we’ve got teenagers in this shelter. What’s happening with teenagers? Hormones, raging out of control.
“It’s important that we maintain safety and vigilance. Be vigilant. Stop what is happening. If you don’t watch these kids, and you’re not the one who is going to step in, who’s going to? Be that person to stand up for the minors because that’s what we’re here for,” the trainer reportedly said, according to Reason.
I toured Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. With the crisis @JoeBiden has created at the border, our men & women at Fort Bliss are overwhelmed w/ a surge of unaccompanied children migrants. Joe Biden needs to visit the #border himself to see how devastating his open-border policies are. pic.twitter.com/5tAw1UA1eX
— Rep. David Kustoff (@RepDavidKustoff) May 24, 2021
The trainer alleged that minors requesting medical care were ignored and instead told to return to their beds, according to Reason. One volunteer was reportedly told there was a three-and-a-half-hour wait for a migrant child to receive medical attention who was coughing up blood, according to a recording of another meeting held by U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Commander Joseph Hutter on May 19, Reason reported.
“I’ve been into one dorm, one time, and I was like, yeah, I’m not going back there,” the trainer reportedly said, according to Reason. “They’re filthy. They’re dirty. There’s food on the floor. There’s wet spots all over the place. The beds are dirty.”
“I don’t know what’s going on or who’s responsible for ensuring that the dorms need to be clean, but we all need to be responsible for telling the minors to clean up after themselves,” the trainer said, Reason reported.
National Center for Youth Law Legal Advocacy and Child Welfare Practice Senior Director Leecia Welch described the facility as smelling like a “high school locker room,” The New York Times reported. Welch said minors were only given one set of new clothes, not including underwear.
However, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra denied a shortage of supplies after touring the facility over the weekend, CBS News reported.
“We provide them with the clothing and the sanitary materials that they need,” Becerra said in a call with reporters, according to CBS News. “I saw no shortage. In fact, as I said, I saw a warehouse with the articles that they would need.”