Migrant children face alarming conditions in US shelter: BBC investigation

Migrant children face alarming conditions in US shelter: BBC investigation
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Migrant children are living in "heartbreaking" conditions at a tent camp on the grounds of Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas, according to a BBC investigation published Tuesday.

Facility staff and children who spoke to the BBC described COVID-19 and lice outbreaks, allegations of sexual abuse, a clothing shortage, and a report of a child who claimed he received uncooked meat.

According to the news outlet, there are at least 12 tents at the Fort Bliss camp, and some have as many as hundreds of children in them at a time.

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"Hundreds of children have tested positive for Covid," one employee told the BBC, which reported that flu and strep throat outbreaks have also occurred at the camp.

Another employee told the BBC that lice was “rampant.”

“And one of the major shortages has been lice kits,” the employee said.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would not allow the BBC into the camp but told the news outlet in a statement that it’s "providing required standards of care for children such as clean and comfortable sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, educational and recreational activities, and access to medical services."

An HHS spokesperson later issued a statement saying: “We take our humanitarian mission and the well-being of children in our care seriously. HHS has taken action to improve the conditions at Fort Bliss and at all Emergency Influx Sites."

"Children are receiving nutritionally-appropriate meals and there are now over 50 mental health professionals on site at Fort Bliss and counselors at all other emergency influx sites,” the spokesperson added.

Vice President Harris is scheduled to visit the border on Friday with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasBipartisan governors press Biden administration on Canadian border restrictions Graham, Cuellar press Biden to name border czar DHS imposes mask mandate for employees MORE. In March, the number of unaccompanied children spiked to 19,000 but receded to 14,000 in May.

Updated at 7:08 p.m.