Texas Launches an Investigation Into Multiple Health Hazards at Various Migrant Holding Facilities

Posted: Mar 20, 2021 9:55 AM
Texas Launches an Investigation Into Multiple Health Hazards at Various Migrant Holding Facilities

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday deployed multiple state agencies and personnel to investigate health hazards at two federally-run holding facilities for unaccompanied minors. 

Abbott sent the Texas Department of State Health Services to Carrizo Springs because of a coronavirus outbreak at the facility. The goal is to "investigate, identify and combat" the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality notified authorities about potentially hazardous drinking water at their Midland location. The facility was not proven to be safe prior to unaccompanied minors being housed in the facility, the governor claims.

Abbott slammed the Biden administration for placing children in "unacceptable and inhumane" conditions. 

"The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border. The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane," Abbott said in a statement. "From a lack of safe drinking water in one location to a COVID-19 outbreak in another, the Biden Administration has no excuse for subjecting these children to these kinds of conditions."

The governor also blamed Biden's border crisis for "criminal actors" taking advantage of the situation that is leading to the deplorable conditions.

"President Biden's refusal to address the border crisis is not only enabling criminal actors like human traffickers and smugglers, but it is exposing innocent unaccompanied children to illness and potentially unsafe living conditions," the statement said. "The administration must act now to keep these children safe, secure our border, and end this humanitarian crisis."

Abbott did not disclose how many children and staff members at the holding facilities are infected with the coronavirus.

When the Carrizo Springs facility reopened a few weeks ago, I warned about the potential for rampant disease:

What's taking place on our southern border is disgraceful and wrong. Biden's soft immigration policies are the reason people are flocking to the United States, even during a pandemic. The media is just doing the administration's dirty work by downplaying the consequences and severity of what's taking place.

The truth is this: most of the facilities these unaccompanied minors are being housed in are short-term facilities. They're designed to hold drug traffickers for short periods of time while they are being processed. Most have a couple of benches, a toilet and a water fountain. That's it. No beds. No showers. Disease was an issue when this was going on back in 2014 and that was without the pandemic going on. Throw in these unsanitary conditions on top of the coronavirus – which the administration refuses to allow Border Patrol to test for – and you have a petri dish for disaster. 

Our men and women that protect our southern border deserve better conditions and for the media to speak the truth about the gravity of this situation.

Sadly, all of this was predictable and completely avoidable.