A federal government shelter for migrant children in Fort Bliss, Texas, is allegedly the scene of sexual misconduct between staff and the unaccompanied minors housed there near the United States-Mexico border.
This is the same location where concerns have also been raised about a probable COVID-19 outbreak among the children. Two whistleblowers have accused the Biden administration's Department of Health and Human Services of directing them to downplay the severity of a mass outbreak of COVID-19 amongst migrant children at the Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Site in Texas this year.
New audio has been obtained from a training session with staffers inside Fort Bliss in May where the presenter responds to a question about "kids having sex with each other" and "possible sexual assaults."
"We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately. Is that OK with you guys?" asks the presenter, an unnamed federal contractor.
"If you catch them [engaging in sexual acts], especially if it's a staff member, you separate that minor from that person immediately," the contractor says, making no mention of flagging supervisors to report the incident.
According to NBC News, "At its peak this spring, the temporary facility at Fort Bliss held nearly 5,000 migrant children, as the Department of Health and Human Services scrambled to take in children who were overcrowding Border Patrol stations. At the time of the training session, the facility held about 3,000 minors."
The training session continues with the presenter saying: "I know there have been a lot of complaints from minors about staff members waking them up in the morning. We've got some staff members that are picking up and shaking the bed to wake up the minor. Or they're bouncing them on the bed. They think they're being playful, but that constitutes child abuse. I want you guys to know that."
There has also been controversy about the revelation that many of the children being held at the facility were lacking basic clothing such as "underwear socks and shoes." Arthur Pearlstein, the same whistleblower who made the facility's problems with COVID-19 public, also said: "There were so many of them that complained that they had no underwear or one pair with nothing to change into. I began to ask some of the management officials, 'Well, can't a federal employee that has a purchase card just go to Walmart or Costco?'"
Pearlstein said that he was told no, that they would just have to wait.
Reason in late May reported that both staff-on-minor "inappropriate" contact as well as teenaged minors in physical contact occurred at the Texas border facility.
The kids often have only one set of clothes, but no underwear, Reason found. Federal contractors are supposed to issue that alongside a fresh set of clothes.
The Fort Bliss facility as of May 22, 2021, had 3,872 boys and 752 girls, for a grand total of 4,632 minors. 750 federal employees were on staff at the time, mean ing for every federal employee, they're tasked with six children each. Border facilities are finding themselves in a situation where they continue to have to expand rapidly, as migrants continue to cross the border in unprecedented numbers.
"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," another recording revealed of the dormitory's squalid living conditions under the Biden administration.