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Border agents, family members infected with diseases through illegal immigrant contact

By: Bill Melugin

EL PASO, Texas – A newly released Department of Homeland Security report detailing oversight of unaccompanied alien children reveals federal employees have been exposed to multiple communicable diseases as a result of interaction with illegal immigrants.

KFOX14 obtained the July 30 report from the Office of the Inspector General, which states  that Border Patrol personnel at the Clint Station in El Paso County and Santa Teresa Station in Dona Ana County reported they were potentially exposed to tuberculosis.

The report also states : “DHS employees reported exposure to communicable diseases and becoming sick on duty. For example, during a recent site visit to the Del Rio USBP Station and Del Rio Port of Entry, CBP personnel reported contracting scabies, lice, and chicken pox. Two CBP officers reported that their children were diagnosed with chicken pox within days of the CBP officer’s contact with an unaccompanied minor who had chicken pox.”

KFOX14 also received new information from Stu Harris, the vice president of the Local 1929 National Border Patrol Council

Harris said that as of July 16, 153 undocumented immigrants including adults and children have been admitted to hospitals in El Paso with various illnesses such as chicken pox and scabies.

Harris said 48 border agents have filled out forms saying they believe they may have been susceptible to some sort of diseases, and that two agents have been treated for scabies.

The DHS report says many unaccompanied children and family units require treatment for diseases including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scabies. The immigrants' illnesses and unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities, according to the report.

The report also mentions that DHS employees are donating clothing, toys, and games to the immigrants, and sometimes purchase food for them with money out of their own pockets.