A whistleblower alleged migrant children were burned with ‘scalding water’ at an emergency government shelter

This article features Government Accountability Project’s anonymous whistleblower client and was originally published here.

A whistleblower alleged that migrant children were burned with scalding water when bathing at one of the Biden administration’s emergency shelters at Fort Bliss Army base near El Paso, Texas, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday.

The children also had their blood drawn without explanation and were threatened with deportation, according to the whistleblower complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News.

This is the third complaint out of the base. The first accused the shelter of overcrowding that led to COVID-19 outbreaks. The second claimed contractors with no prior experience were working with children, BuzzFeed News reported.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the government’s facilities housing migrant children, didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Thursday.

Fort Bliss’s emergency intake shelter opened on March 30, 2021, with the capacity to house up to 10,000 children. The shelter is currently under review by HHS’s inspector general, after multiple individuals “raised concerns about the quality of case management provided there, and its negative impact on children’s safety and wellbeing.”

In July, two federal employees at Fort Bliss alleged that they had been instructed to downplay hundreds of COVID-19 infections among the children, according to NBC News.

They also alleged that the children weren’t provided adequate masks, nor was mask-wearing consistently enforced.

BBC investigation in June also revealed that some staff and children had alleged that children were sexually assaulted at the facility, and that other children in need of medical care were neglected.

One audio recording shared with the BBC captured a worker saying, “We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately.”