Staff threatened with arrest if they talk about health problems at border refugee camps
Yesterday I expressed revulsion at the hideous Rep. Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) capering in delight over the political “opportunities” presented by the illegal alien refugee camps, stuffed full of unaccompanied minors, blossoming along our southern border. Correctly believing that getting across the border means lifetime U.S. residence under President Obama’s policies, a migratory wave from Central and South America is surging into hastily-constructed refugee centers, which basically leaves thousands of kids stored in warehouses. Not all of those kids make it to the United States alive, but people like Pelosi apparently think that’s a reasonable price to create a Cloward-Piven manufactured-crisis “opportunity” for the Democrat-Big Business amnesty axis. You certainly aren’t going to see them accepting any responsibility for the humanitarian horror their policies and political demands have unleashed, much less do anything that would actually stop it.
Now comes a new report from Todd Starnes at Fox News, which says the people who do make it across the border are facing dangerous conditions at the refugee camps… and medical staffers have been threatened with arrest if they talk about it. Keep in mind that all of this comes in the form of allegations from a small group of anonymous tipsters. Their stories are harrowing enough to warrant a thorough official investigation.
A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, sources say.
In spite of the threat, several former camp workers broke their confidentiality agreements and shared exclusive details with me about the dangerous conditions at the camp. They said taxpayers deserve to know about the contagious diseases and the risks the children pose to Americans. I have agreed to not to disclose their identities because they fear retaliation and prosecution.
“There were several of us who wanted to talk about the camps, but the agents made it clear we would be arrested,” a psychiatric counselor told me. “We were under orders not to say anything.”
The sources said workers were guarded by a security force from the Baptist Family & Children’s Services, which the Department of Health and Human Services hired to run the Lackland Camp.
The sources say security forces called themselves the “Brown Shirts.”
They call themselves the “Brown Shirts?” That’s never a good sign.
“It was a very submissive atmosphere,” the counselor said. “Once you stepped onto the grounds, you abided by their laws – the Brown Shirt laws.”
She said the workers were stripped of their cellphones and other communication devices. Anyone caught with a phone was immediately fired.
“Everyone was paranoid,” she said. “The children had more rights than the workers.”
She said children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat as well as mental and emotional issues.
“It was not a good atmosphere in terms of health,” she said. “I would be talking to children and lice would just be climbing down their hair.”
A former nurse at the camp told me she was horrified by what she saw.
“We have so many kids coming in that there was no way to control all of the sickness – all this stuff coming into the country,” she said. “We were very concerned at one point about strep going around the base.”
A bit of the old cover-up razzle dazzle that wowed us all at the Department of Veterans Affairs ensued, with reports of scabies and lice at “epidemic” levels hushed up by officials. It’s remarkable how many departments of our titanic government seem to have gotten the idea that doctoring paperwork to make themselves look better is a sure-fire strategy during the Obama years, isn’t it? No wonder the number of Americans who believe their government is corrupt just keeps going up and up.
The nurse who talked to Starnes expressed horror that kids with such contagious issues were transported on charter buses and airplanes. They’re being driven and flown just about everywhere, except back to their countries of origin, as the illegal immigration wave is dispersed across the United States, making it even more difficult to reverse. As Starnes points out, that also means people who subsequently travel in those vehicles might be exposed to elevated public-health risks.
According to the counselor Starnes interviewed, the “breaking point” came when some of children at the camps became suicidal – I guess they didn’t see the “opportunity” that was so obvious to Nancy Pelosi – and the authorities refused to give them psychiatric care. She filed a report with Child Protective Services, quit her job, and started keeping a journal… which federal agents demanded she hand over. She’s understandably worried about reprisals for speaking out, which is something else the folks from the VA could tell her some stories about.
The response from agency management wasn’t so much a denial as a rundown of all the great systems they’ve got running at the refugee camps:
Baptist Family & Childen’s Services spokeswoman Krista Piferrer tells me the agency takes “any allegation of malfeasance or inappropriate care of a child very seriously.”
“There are a number of checks and balances to ensure children are receiving appropriate and adequate mental health care,” she said.
Piferrer said the clinicians are supervised by a federal field specialist from HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. She also said BFCS have 58 medical professionals serving at Lackland.
“Every illness, whether it is a headache or something more serious, is recorded in a child’s electronic medical record and posted on WebEOC – a real-time, web-based platform that is visible to not only BFCS but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” she said.
This should give us an idea of why President Obama wants to put taxpayers on the hook for a cool $2 billion in costs for dealing with the migration he invited, and underline the inevitability of that $2 billion as a mere starting point. The flood we’re seeing now will increase even more if Obama writes some more executive orders for amnesty, or House Republicans are intimidated and cajoled into offering an amnesty deal. Even if the influx of aliens started dropping off tomorrow, we’ve been given a humanitarian nightmare that isn’t going away any time soon.
There have already been reports of kids dying on the journey across the border, and the summer heat is going to make it worse. Other abuses may be visited on the young migrants by smugglers and corrupt officials as well. In a follow-up story about the 11-year-old Guatemalan boy found dead in the desert over the weekend – just a mile from the border he was trying to cross – Texas congressman Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, mentions hearing about the practice of renting children in order to increase an alien’s chances of being allowed to remain in the United States:
Cuellar says that as he was speaking to Customs and Border Patrol agents he was also discovering a disturbing trend of adults “renting” children in Central America in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over.
“I was talking to somebody that worked for Border Patrol, and he said that in the late 80′s there were a lot of kids from El Salvador coming in and what they were doing is they had a ‘rent-a-kid’ program.” says Cuellar “In other words they said ‘oh if I come in and I have a kid with me they’ll let me go.” And the Border Agent told him “Henry, I’m seeing this again, I cannot believe it.”
“This is a phenomenon that has gone on for years if not decades,” says George Grayson a Professor of Latin American Politics at William & Mary “As far as I know they pay the families (and remember these economies are in sad shape) and therefore to get maybe a few hundred dollars you’re willing to give up your 7th or 8th child.”
Cuellar says the inbound traffic across the border “has not ebbed at all,” yielding 1,200 to 1,500 arrests by the Border Patrol per day, with 20 to 30 percent of them unaccompanied minors. It’s long past time that the humanitarian cost of fiddling with open-borders policy is clearly spelled out, and laid at the feet of those who made this human wave happen. Not only should the President and his ideological fellow travelers be held accountable for what they have done, but it’s essential for all of us to remember the human cost of a porous border and lax immigration enforcement, before the next big push for “comprehensive immigration reform” splashes across the front pages.
Update: People are starting to wake up to what President Obama is doing to their communities. When the latest shipment of illegal aliens from Texas arrived in Murrieta, California, they were met by protesters. Three busloads of illegals were turned back when the protesters refused police orders to disperse.
It’s a somewhat futile exercise, because they were simply transported to a different Border Patrol station in the San Diego area and released from there, and the Reuters report on the incident mentions more “undocumented families with children” rolling into another nearby processing center without incident. But it’s a sign that the populace is growing uneasy about the migration wave sweeping not just into Texas, but across the nation.
As for the unpleasant tone of some of the protest signs, such as “Go home – we don’t want you here,” the people who manufactured this illegal immigration crisis are to blame for the hard feelings it has produced. The very definition of citizenship involves not wanting people who have not completed the lawful immigration procedure to settle in your country. It’s not a good development when citizens feel the need to express that principle in such blunt terms, but the politicians who filled those planes and buses are the architects of this crisis, not the people angrily responding to their actions.
Of course, if those angry reactions are used by the media to marginalize the Americans who object to the open-borders catastrophe they never voted for, it must be considered a successful side effect of the Cloward-Piven strategy – that is, another aspect of using a manufactured crisis to overwhelm existing systems, to force a political agenda upon people who never would have voted for it.
Update: There have been reports that several of the illegals caught while trying to surf the human wave coming over our border are on the terrorist watch list. The national security crisis we’re confronting is as troubling as the health crisis.
Update: Texas governor Rick Perry urged President Obama to visit the border areas in his state on Wednesday, saying that “if the President of the United States is really serious about securing that border, we can show him how to do that… but I haven’t even had a phone call from this President.” It should be easy for Obama to pay that visit, since he’s already in Texas for some fundraisers. Maybe Governor Perry should try throwing together a mini-golf course next to the refugee camps and telling the President he can shoot a round after he takes the tour.
Update: Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) tried to visit the refugee center housing 1,200 unaccompanied alien children at Ft. Sill on Tuesday. (Oklahoma is a “border state” now. Every state is a border state. That’s the point of all this. And evidently “unaccompanied alien children” or UACs is the official designation now.)
Bridenstine was denied access to the facility, which is actually run by our ultra-competent public servants at the Department of Health and Human Services. Local news KRMG reports on the incident:
Congressman Bridenstine said, “There is no excuse for denying a Federal Representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held. Any Member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks.”
The Health and Human Services (HHS) official who appears to be in charge of the facility told Congressman Bridenstine he could schedule an appointment for July 21. HHS Deputy Director of the Office of Public Affairs, Ken Wolfe, would not take the Congressman’s phone call. The Congressman was told to send Mr. Wolfe an email as that was the preferred method of communication. Congressman Bridenstine’s email to Mr. Wolfe included this press release.
“After my visit today with the base commander, I approached the barracks where the children are housed. A new fence has been erected by HHS, completely surrounding the barracks and covered with material to totally obscure the view. Every gate is chained closed.
“I approached a security guard and asked to speak with the manager of the facility. The guard called his supervisor who said no visitors were allowed. I asked if they were aware that I am a Member of Congress. Eventually the manager came out and said that I would have to go through HHS legislative affairs and that the first chance to visit would be July 21st.
“What are they trying to hide? Do they not want the children to speak with Members of Congress? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.”
There are two other UAC shelters on military bases, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas and Naval Base Ventura County in California, according to the Defense Department website. Let’s see if the people’s representatives can get access to one of those.