Crime Whistleblowers Say ‘Gross Mismanagement’ at Migrant Kids’ Detention Facility Led to Nightmare Conditions
Guantánamo Bay detainee transferred to home country of Morocco
A Moroccan man held in Guantánamo Bay for nearly 20 years has been transferred from the US detention facility to his native country of Morocco, the Department of Defense announced Monday, in what is believed to be the first transfer of a detainee in the Biden administration. © John Moore/Getty Images A guard tower stands at the entrance of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, also known as "Gitmo," on October 23, 2016 at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mismanagement by contractors at a federal detention facility forin Texas led to for the young detainees, according to a new whistleblower complaint released Wednesday.
The whistleblowers, describing what they say they witnessed at the facility from April to June 2021, sound the alarm about what they call “gross mismanagement, gross waste, and abuse of authority.”
A senior U.S. Public Health Service manager allegedly concealed the true size of a substantial coronavirus outbreak at the detention facility amid a shortage of masks. The same manager, when asked about a lack of delousing kits, said there were no lice at the camp—even as a girls tent occupied by hundreds of detainees had to be locked down because of a severe lice outbreak. When questioned about the outbreak, the manager was dismissive, saying that since girls have longer hair than boys, they would naturally be more prone to lice infestations, according to the complaint.
Man accused in deadly Texas standoff faces federal charge
LEVELLAND, Texas (AP) — A man charged in the fatal shooting of a SWAT officer in a small West Texas city during a standoff last week was charged Friday with assaulting a federal officer who responded to the scene, prosecutors said. Omar Soto-Chavira, 22, was charged with one count of forcibly assaulting a federal officer engaged in the performance of official duties. Soto-Chavira repeatedly opened fire on law enforcement during the almost 11-hour standoff on July 15 at a house in Levelland, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Lubbock, authorities said.
Boys detained at the facility complained of having no underwear at all or only one pair. One whistleblower said he suggested using his federal expense card to purchase underwear at a nearby Costco or Walmart. A senior federal manager allegedly told him, “I don’t have time for this s--t.”
Construction workers at Fort Bliss are also accused in the complaint of sexually harassing the girls detained there, and when federal employees expressed concerns, managers at the facility “resisted taking their complaints,” according to the report.
Private contractors with no experience in caring for children operate nearly every aspect of the Fort Bliss facility, the whistleblowers allege. They name three: Chenega Corporation, Servpro, and Rapid Deployment Inc., which won contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to government spending records.
Why Border Patrol is doing more to rescue and identify missing migrants
The agency's approach to missing migrants has evolved amid an increase in migration and deaths. Brooks County — about 75 miles north of the Rio Grande Valley — has become the Border Patrol's laboratory, a place to test approaches they're already extending across the border. A three-person missing-migrant team trained in forensics is working with an intelligence officer to help identify migrant remains. The agency also added equipment and technology to help locate stranded migrants faster. It installed more than 1,400 rescue signs across the region labeled with GPS coordinates.
Arthur Pearlstein and Lauren Reinhold, the whistleblowers, are career federal civil servants who were posted to Fort Bliss from April to June 2021. Pearlstein worked on clinical assessments of detainees and with small groups providing mental health services; Reinhold in the detainees’ girls’ tent and on the call center team. The whistleblowers filed their first complaint in early July.
Pearlstein and Reinhold’s complaint reads, “Federal detailees witnessed significant waste, fraud and abuse. When they attempted to express their concerns to federal managers they were told—time and again—it was the contractors that were in charge and government employees needed to be responsive to the contractors’ needs. The contractors ignored or rejected most detailee concerns.”
Nor was theirs the first report of inadequate care at Fort Bliss. Earlier this year, children complained that they were given rotten food and forced to sleep in hot, overcrowded tents. Amnesty International has cited Fort Bliss’ conditions as a reason to end the detention of migrant children entirely in the U.S.
EXCLUSIVE-U.S. starts flying migrant families into Mexico far from border - source .
The United States on Thursday began flying Central American and Mexican families to southern Mexico in an effort to deter migration by bolstering a COVID-era expulsion policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, a person familiar with the matter said. Nearly 200 Mexican and Central American family members were expelled deep into Mexico on Thursday in what are expected to be regular flights, the person said. The flights, which will include adults, aim to disrupt a pattern of repeat crossings under a U.S. border policy known as Title 42.U.S.