Immigration

Ft. Bliss ‘Horrible” Conditions Lead To Migrant Children Trying To Escape


According to a Newsweek article today, [1] the conditions are so “horrible” at Fort Bliss in El Paso that migrant children are trying to escape. The Newsweek article quoted court document declarations reported by the Associated Press.

A 16-year-old migrant child from Honduras, quoted by Newsweek, reported being served “raw chicken” at Fort Bliss. The child said that at Fort Bliss he spent his entire day in bed, making him feel like “a hostage”. According to the article, the child said that “if anything, it paid off to misbehave,” because after trying to escape from Fort Bliss he was sent to a New York shelter where there are teachers and he was served pizza. Fort Bliss was a “hellhole,” he reportedly said.

The Biden administration has kept over 700 migrant children in unlicensed detention centers for three weeks or longer before transferring them to the facilities of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Deportations under Title 42, a health fast-track expulsion mechanism, remains high under Biden. Biden has extended Title 42 after promising to end it.

The Associated Press added that several migrant children have tried to escape the Fort Bliss facility.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services launched a federal investigation of the conditions at Fort Bliss. Incidents of self-harm, panic attacks and escapes have been reported to HHS by federal employees at the facility in El Paso. [2]

El Paso has a legacy of controversial immigration scandals at its federal facilities. The Trump child separation program for his “zero tolerance” initiatives was piloted in El Paso in 2017. Over 600 migrant children were separated from their families in El Paso.

El Paso’s immigration judges have been singled out as the worst judges for immigrants in the nation. One of the judges is married to Congresswomen Veronica Escobar.

To this day, the County of El Paso is paid $24 million to jail immigrants in its facilities by the federal govenment.

Meanwhile El Paso’s politicians continue to decry the treatment of immigrants by Trump but have said little about what is happening to migrants under the Biden administration.

Footnotes:

  1. Julia Marnin, “Migrant Children Tried Escaping from Fort Bliss Facility Over ‘Horrible’ Living Conditions,” Newsweek, August 26, 2021.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, “Reported Experiences of Staff at Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Site,” (OEI-07-21-00251) August 2021.

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