Amid a sharp spike in illegal immigration through the U.S.-Mexico border that has left federal processing facilities overwhelmed, more than 1,000 children who crossed unaccompanied into the U.S. illegally were sent to live at the Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, Texas on May 18. The children have only been at the base for a few weeks, but the facility is reportedly ridden with various illnesses. Today, on an open press call, the Obama administration announced its intention to increase the usage of the facility to handle what it deemed as a “humanitarian crisis.”
Children brought to Lackland are provided with education, foster care programs, and “behavioral treatment centers.”
While the base’s utilization is well-intended, a woman with “inside access” to the camp recently said its inhabitants are dealing with breakouts of numerous diseases. The unnamed source told local media outlet KENS 5, “We have had a break out of medical conditions such as lice, bed bugs, scabies, different types of illnesses that are occurring: strep, sore throats, coughs.”
The woman said there are nurses at the camp, but did not specify how many. It is also unclear what measures, if any, are in place to prevent U.S. agents at the camp from contracting diseases.
The female source added that the children are all well-fed, but that close living quarters put them at risk for contracting diseases.
She expressed a need for more staff at the camp to care for the children, who are currently under the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We need to have additional parties overseeing the care of these children. We need Child Protective Services involved, we need the clergy, we need certified teachers to be educating these children,” she said.
The cost of the programs for illegal immigrants currently at Lackland, as well as the cost of the housing, has not been disclosed to U.S. taxpayers. The bill for additional care at the camp would almost definitely be footed by taxpayers.
The news of sickness at the massive Lackland base comes in the face of a scabies outbreak among illegal immigrants.
Breitbart Texas recently reported that several U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector have contracted scabies from contact with detained illegal immigrants. According to Action 4 News, about 10-15 percent of apprehended illegal immigrants have scabies in the RVG area.
“We don’t screen for diseases,” RGV Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora told Breitbart Texas. “All we are is a processing center, so we don’t do that.”
Overcrowding in processing facilities has made it difficult to identify and quarantine infected detainees. Many are concerned that illegal immigrants, who continue to come into the U.S. at record rates, may pass on illnesses to the general public.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.