A facility housing migrant children in Fort Bliss made “every effort” to keep the extent of a COVID-19 outbreak under wraps, with an alleged “politics will be over”, volunteers claim Is.
The allegations about the Texas base were made in a whistleblower complaint filed Wednesday By the non-profit Government Accountability Project on behalf of Arthur Perlstein and Lauren Reinhold, described as “career federal civil servants” who volunteered at the Fort Bliss facility between April and June of this year.
“COVID was widespread among children and eventually spread to many employees,” reads the complaint, which was initially obtained by fox news. “Hundreds of children contracted COVID in overcrowded conditions. Sufficient masks were not consistently provided to the children, nor was their use enforced consistently.”
The complaint alleges that a senior official from the US Public Health Service, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), declined to say how many detainees were infected, allegedly sending volunteers to a “town”. Hall” told the meeting. : “If that graph [of infections] Every day The Washington Post is going, it’s the only thing we’ll deal with and politics will take over, take on perception, and we’re about reality, not perception.”
The official acknowledged that “several children had to be hospitalised,” but did not provide further details.
The complaint also alleges “significant waste, fraud and abuse” at the facility, with federal officials essentially handing over operational control to private contractors, who “ignored or denied” the volunteers’ concerns.
Those concerns included a lack of underwear, shoes and socks. When Perlstein suggested buying essential supplies at stores in nearby El Paso, he was told by a federal manager, “I don’t have time for this s—t.” In the end, the whistleblower says, he spent hundreds of dollars of his own money on “books, visual aids, games, and other items.”
Whistleblowers further alleged that construction workers “notice the girls lewd and loud as they go outside the dining tent” and that managers “resist” to hearing complaints about such behavior.
Furthermore, the complaint claims that volunteers were explicitly assigned to perform duties on a first-come, first-served basis with respect to their skills. In one example, a Spanish-speaking volunteer, who was a licensed social worker, spent weeks as a supervisor before being allowed to give counseling to struggling children.
Whistleblowers describe children experiencing “depression and depressive episodes”, including suicidal thoughts, and allege that their requests for counseling were “ignored or denied”.
“[I]In one case, a therapist’s primary response to a boy—who complained of feeling very sad and depressed—was to tell him that he had nothing to complain about and that, in fact, he was given whatever he wanted. has been, for that he should feel grateful,” the complaint said.
Despite the chaos, volunteers were reportedly asked to put a happy face on their experience at Fort Bliss. At the end of their time, the complaint alleges, volunteers “will receive a sheet from the HHS Public Affairs Office with detailed instructions on how, when asked, to make everything positive about the Fort Bliss experience and nothing negative.” to play.”
The complaint was filed with four congressional committees, the HHS Inspector General’s Office and the Office of the Special Counsel.
In a statement to LOVEBYLIFE, an HHS spokesperson said: “The care and wellbeing of children” in our custody remains a top priority for HHS. Currently, children meet with a case manager weekly at the Emergency Intake site in Fort Bliss and we have about 60 mental health and behavior counselors on site working with children. It remains our policy to promptly report any alleged case of wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities. “
Lawmakers have expressed concern that the growth of migration at the southern border is contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in the US. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that more than 7,500 new coronavirus cases were reported in government detention centers between April and the end of June.
Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) LBL confirmed Last week 30 percent of detainees refused a coronavirus vaccine when offered.