WASHINGTON, September 27 (CNNBreakingNews.net) — US government workers feared retaliation because they recently raised concerns Had a year spent treating unaccompanied migrant children at a military base in Texas, where children were held on the US-Mexico border amid record arrivals, according to a watchdog report published on Tuesday.
Two US government employees said they had experienced retaliation after raising an alarm about conditions in Fort Bliss, which has been used as emergency shelter since March 2021, according to the US Inspector General of Health and Human Services (HHS) report.
The alleged retaliatory measures, which included downgrading and removal of orders, could result in a wider “whistleblower Chilling,” the inspector general’s office said, “effectively scares staff into withholding complaints or reports of misconduct.”
The whistleblowers cited in Tuesday’s report included an employee who worked with the HHS Office of Refugee leadership at Resettlement (ORR). ORR oversees care and custody of unaccompanied minors.
The employee, who was not named, was allegedly demoted and transferred after raising concerns about treatment of children on the grassroots level and the abolition of certain safety checks in the children’s release to sponsors program.
An HHS official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Cnnbreakingnews.net the agency would not retaliate against someone who has raised concerns about child protection.
The HHS official said the agency faced challenges in an emergency situation in spring 2021, but that the conditions in Fort Bliss are Now “day and night” compared to back then. There are currently 589 children at the base, the official said, and children stay on average 13 days before being released to parents or other sponsors.
ORR’s parent agency agreed with all recommendations in the report, including ensuring that employees and contractors are aware of the protection of whistleblowers.
In a letter to the inspector general, the agency undertook to specify the contractor’s protection in more detail. agreements and training.
The number of children caught crossing the border with Mexico rose sharply in 2021, posing humanitarian challenges for US President Joe Biden, a Democrat. To reduce overcrowding at border stations, HHS opened several emergency shelters for unaccompanied children until they could be placed with sponsors in the United States.
Migrant children sent to shelters, including Fort Bliss, described overcrowded living conditions; spoiled food, Lack of clean clothing and struggles with depression, according to statements from children filed in court in June 2021. read more