Watchdog: US Whistleblowers Allegedly Faced Retaliation For Exposing Treatment of Migrant Children

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • According to a report released on Tuesday by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Inspector General, staff working at a temporary housing center in Fort Bliss, Texas feared retaliation if they raised concerns about the treatment of unaccompanied migrant children.

    • The report examined the struggle of the Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR) [part of the HHS] to house unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied children - it cited two examples of alleged retaliation against whistleblowers, including demotion and removal from assignments. The HHS also concluded that actions against those who spoke out led staff to withhold complaints or reports of misconduct.

    The Spin

    Democratic narrative

    While these allegations are concerning, the Biden administration is doing all it can to move migrant children out of custody as quickly and safely as possible. Unfortunately, the admin has few good options right now, having inherited the changes made by Trump to reduce asylum and refugee processing, as well as an artificial backup at the border caused by COVID and the previous administration's policies.

    Republican narrative

    The Biden administration should keep unaccompanied children in refugee centers outside of the US while their claims are being considered - not within the country. Current policies encourage further migration - something Americans don't want, and that the US government can't afford. The numbers traveling across the border have only risen so sharply because the Democrats are such a soft touch on immigration.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    There needs to be a deeper reckoning among Americans regarding their country’s immigration policies. The gross mistreatment of migrant children by US authorities has spanned multiple administrations. Yet, the majority of Americans who support Democrats don’t seem as concerned about this mistreatment as when it was occurring under the Trump administration. Democrats and Republicans alike have failed voters, and innocent children have suffered as a result of their ineptitude.

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