‘Skin-lightening lotion:’ 3rd complaint filed against Texas unaccompanied migrant center
This article features Government Accountability Project’s anonymous whistleblower client and was originally published here.
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — A third complaint has been filed by the Government Accountability Project against the treatment of migrant children being detained at the Emergency Intake Center at Fort Bliss.
This week, a whistleblower filed the complaint, sharing what they saw while volunteering at Fort Bliss from April to May of 2021.
“Unfortunately, it does not come as much of a surprise. There are volumes of evidence demonstrating that the government is simply not willing or able to care for immigrant children in their custody in a humane and responsible manner,” said Katie Shepherd, immigration counsel for the Government Accountability Project.
People continue to come forward with allegations of abuse and mismanagement at the Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Center.
In the complaint, the whistleblower claims that tent staff “regularly threaten children with deportation, lights are left on 24 hours a day in tents, and that children have burnt and blistered their skin from ‘skin lightening’ lotion provided to them rather than a safe moisturizing lotion.
The Government Accountability Project said there is no way of verifying the conditions at the base because there has been little transparency, and media has not been allowed on the site.
“I will point out that we have five or more clients who have come forward and spoken with us and given very credible accounts which are consistent and really tell the story that there is a pattern of abuse and mismanagement in Ft. Bliss,” said Shepherd.
When asked about the allegations, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement stating in part:
“We act quickly to address any concerns and have proactively closed sites that didn’t meet our standards. It remains our policy to swiftly report any alleged instances of wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities.”
They did not address the allegations made in the complaint.
“We would like a commitment from the administration that children will only ever be held in an environment where there are high standards of care and children will not be forced under these conditions again. And we hope that there’s continued transparency into these conditions and into what is happening at Ft. Bliss and the other Emergency shelters as well,” said Shepherd.