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Posts tagged ‘detainees’

Border Patrol agents fall prey to illnesses plaguing migrant holding centers


Written by Anna Giaritelli | June 16, 2019 03:55 PM

Jon Anfinsen is a National Border Patrol Council vice president and based in Del Rio, which includes Eagle Pass, where most Congolese are arriving. Anfinsen represents approximately 1,000 agents who are based out of 10 regional holding stations. Anfinsen has been an agent 12 years and said the number of people in custody and subsequent illnesses among that population is “unprecedented.”

“Scabies, chickenpox — we had one case of the mumps here in Uvalde. I wanna say we had measles — plenty of the flu, plenty of colds, body lice, just assorted. And some of these things, they spread like wildfires when you get into a cramped holding cell. It happens,” Anfinsen said.

The continuous breakouts — in part caused by the overcrowded conditions in facilities and difficulty quarantining each sick person — are taking both a physical and mental toll on agents.

“It’s not so much the workload. It’s the constant illnesses. We have a lot of agents who are sick. The other day I talked to agents from four different stations. And every single one of them had a cough,”Anfinsen said.

“I’ll go and I’ll help process. There was one day I spent processing and we had like 40 Guatemalans and Hondurans, and most of them had some kind of cough. And sure enough the next day, I’m sick — for a week,”he said. “It’s become the new normal, and you gotta just keep going and do your job because you can’t just not process them.”

National Border Patrol Council vice president and agent in El Paso, Wesley Farris, said the breakouts rarely stop, they just dwindle down for a period.

“It’ll go in waves. Scabies — strep throat was the last one. Strep throat happened at the Santa Teresa station [in New Mexico]. It was everywhere,” Farris said. “Active tuberculosis comes in fairly regularly. We had an incident of H1N1, swine flu, in Clint [Texas] with a juvenile. And then the ones that are most disruptive are the simple ones: regular flu or lice.”

Union officials in El Paso have urged the sector’s 2,500 agents to wear gloves and face masks whenever possible. Neither official could provide confidential data on the amount of agent sick time used in order to see the brevity of sickness claims among Homeland Security employees.

Farris said the sector has harped on taking basic precautions to stay healthy, but said they are not enough, especially as populations from other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia, continue to arrive at the southern border at rates higher than previous years, bringing with it mild and possibly more serious types of illnesses that are not native to the U.S.

Farris said if he had his way, he would bring in physicians from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a proactive measure.

Both officials said migrants are currently screened after being taken into custody and transported from where they were found to a Border Patrol station. Some agents will ask migrants while they are in the field if they need medical help and will then acquire additional transportation if it is needed.

Once back at the station, either Border Patrol EMTs, medical personnel from the Coast Guard, or contracted doctors and nurses will take each person’s vitals and examine them for signs of illness. If a person is deemed to be in good standing, he or she will be released into a holding cell with others. All others will be sent to a hospital. Following hospital tests and possible treatment, the detainee is turned back over to Border Patrol. Quarantining is difficult because of the lack of space at stations, both men said.

Border Patrol does not do blood work as part of medical intake for incoming detainees. Anfinsen said even if they did do it, there is still a chance they or the hospital could miss something that is premature to be showing up in the blood.

The El Paso official said the contracted medical professionals and Coast Guard officials are doing their best, but deserve additional resources because of the risk posed to the general public by the release of hundreds of thousands of people this year.

“If I was running the ship, I would make medically screening people a higher priority,”he said. “At least 90% of people coming into this sector are coming in at one spot. I would get ahead of the game and set up what you call a hot zone — have medical right there.”

“We’re civil servants. It’s what we’re supposed to do in that regard — make sure we at least know [a person’s background]. We do it on the criminal side — we won’t release a criminal if they have an active warrant. We’ll check that. But we’re very reluctant to quarantine them medically,”he said.

Last week, the CDC announced the activation of an emergency operations center in an effort to help with the Congo’s Ebola outbreak, the second-largest in history.

Farris said if the CDC is jumping in to help with a major outbreak overseas, the U.S. agency should “absolutely” deploy some resources to the southern border.

“You’re going to have to sift through thousands before you get one [major disease],” said Farris. “That’s my nightmare — that somebody does get sick — because I’m going to have to make the funeral arrangements. And it’s not going to be an agent, it’s going to be his 3-year-old kid at home who contracts Ebola or H1N1 because they’re little.”

CNN: Intercepted Radio Chatter Indicated Bergdahl Sought Contact With Taliban


http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/06/04/cnn-radio-chatter-indicates-bergdahl-sought-contract-with-the-taliban-n1847233

Guy Benson | Jun 04, 2014

Guy Benson

CNN landed the interview, but the dramatic allegation comes from Sgt. Evan Buetow — Bowe Bergdahl’s team leader. To briefly recap what we’ve learned today, according to Fox News, “many” US intelligence officials have harbored concerns that Bergdahl may have “actively collaborated” with the Taliban enemy. The New York Times and Fox both published scoops regarding Bergdahl’s desertion note, which may have suggested (whatever that means) a desire to abandon his American citizenship. And now this:

Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He’s looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban. “I heard it straight from the interpreter’s lips as he heard it over the radio,” said Buetow. “There’s a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away.” … “For 60 days or more, I remember, just straight, all we did was search for Bergdahl,” said Buetow, “essentially chasing a ghost because we never came up with anything.” At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for him, according to soldiers involved in those operations…Many soldiers in Bergdahl’s platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika province in the days and weeks following his disappearance. “Following his disappearance, IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical,” said Buetow. It was “very suspicious,” says Buetow, noting that Bergdahl knew sensitive information about the movement of U.S. trucks, the weaponry on those trucks, and how soldiers would react to attacks. “We were incredibly worried” that Bergdahl was giving up information, either under torture, or otherwise, says Buetow.

Honor and distinction.” This is deadly serious stuff, literally. Bergdahl’s unit leader on the night he evidently deserted claims that intercepted communications from shortly after Bergdahl’s disappearance indicated that he may have been proactively seeking out the Taliban. The kindest explanation is that Bergdahl was already being held against his will in some fashion and was desperate to communicate with his captors as a means of self-preservation. But it’s pretty clear that Buetow doesn’t believe that. He takes things a step further, theorizing that Bergdahl may have lent his expertise to the enemy in order to improve the effectiveness of their ambushes and IEDs. If your instinct is to wave that theory away as extreme, consider two factors: (1) Wikileaks cables appear to corroborate a major part of Buetow’s account, and (2) the UK Daily Mail printed this all the way back in 2010:

A captured American soldier is training Taliban fighters bomb-making and ambush skills, according to one of his captors and Afghan intelligence officials. Private Bowe Bergdahl disappeared in June 2009 while based in eastern Afghanistan and is thought to be the only U.S. serviceman in captivity. The 24-year-old has converted to Islam and now has the Muslim name Abdullah, one of his captors told The Sunday Times.

In a vacuum, I wouldn’t necessarily put too much stock in the word of the Taliban, or Afghan intelligence officials. But now we have Buetow’s accusations to add into the equation, and people on both sides of this conflict have told a hauntingly similar story. These fears look more realistic than ever. The president must have known Bergdahl’s case was a minefield, but some combination of arrogance and tone-deafness led him to disregard internal concerns from the defense and intel communities, and to convince himself that this news would be met with euphoric celebrations. In case you were curious, Obama is “unapologetic” over the decision, of course. The same can’t be said of many Senate Democrats who’ve suddenly gone, well, AWOL on this story. I wonder why. Could it be that unlawfully releasing five hardened Taliban commanders from US custody with loose (if any) security precautions in place in exchange for an apparent deserter and alleged enemy collaborator might be…politically toxic? As you know, I’ve been scratching my head over this whole thing for days now. Finally, some pieces seem to be falling into place. Between the “expected euphoria” report, the Guantanamo Bay closure experiment angle, and the crucial detail that Team Obama was reportedly itching to relieve themselves of these particular jihadists for some reason before Bergdahl became a hostage, I suspectAllahpunditmay be right on the money:

allah“Could this be President’s Obama attempt at empting GITMO in order to shut it down? Could he be depending on his Muslim buddies kidnapping Americans (anywhere) and holding them for GITMO detainees exchange? Sounds credible given President Obama’s conduct over the last 6 years. SORRY YET?” JB

The simple calculation came to a halt when the public, press, and Bergdahl’s former brothers didn’t react the way the White House anticipated.

Sorry YetRemember

HeartVOTE 02

 

 

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