The mass migration of illegal immigrants into the United States is like a “hurricane that won’t stop,” according to sources inside an organization contracted to run refugee camps for the Department of Health and Human Services.
“It’s a tsunami of people and I don’t know what we can do to make it stop,” the source inside BCFS, previously known as Baptist Child & Family Services told me. BCFS is responsible for refugee camps at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
My BCFS source said they’ve been told by the federal government to keep the Lackland camp open until September and the Fort Sill camp open until October.
“It’s more serious than people realize,” the source told me. “It’s a mass migration of people.”
“To move Central America to the United States is not the answer,” the source said. “It’s a serious problem, and someone in Washington needs to wake up.”
As many as 1,200 illegal alien children are housed at the Lackland facility, which has drawn fire in recent days over allegations from former employees that the government is downplaying the health risks there and that a security force has been bullying staffers.
Several workers told me staff members have been threatened with arrest if they speak publicly about what is happening inside the facility.
BCFS released a statement denying there were any significant health concerns and strongly rejecting the allegations made by the former workers.
“None of our Lackland shelter professionals have been arrested or threatened with arrest for any activities related to shelter operations,” the statement read.
BCFS also dismissed any concerns about widespread sickness among the children. According to their data, only 119 have been treated for lice, 22 have been treated for scabies and one was diagnosed with Swine Flu.
I contacted HHS and they told me “there are very few health issues with children in the program.”
“There are no cases of scabies pending,” an HHS spokesman told me.
Not so, say my sources.
“They are lying,” one nurse told me. “We treated that many kids with lice on a given day. We would put 20 kids in front of us – 10 in each row. You could see the bugs crawling through their hair.”
Another former staff member told me it was like working in a giant emergency room.
“They had children in the infirmary that had been there several days,” the former staffer told me. “You were on your feet nonstop. They had chicken pox, measles, and there was a concern strep was spreading.”
BCFS denied any of the children had the measles. They said the most common illnesses at Lackland are fever, headaches, upper respiratory colds and ingrown toenails. They said public health authorities “have inspected our facility and had access to freely converse with our medical staff and children.”
But that’s not the case for members of Congress.
Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstein was denied access to the HHS facility at Fort Sill – another facility run by BCFS.
“There is no excuse for denying a federal representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held,” the congressman said in a statement.
Bridenstein said he was told that unannounced visitors are not allowed – even if they are elected officials – and that he would have to make an appointment to visit the facility.
“What are they trying to hide?” he asked. “Do they not want the children to speak with members of Congress?”
That’s a great question, and one I posed to BCFS. I was told the decision to bar Bridenstein came from the Department of Health and Human Services.
My source inside BCFS said the federal government has been a bit difficult to work with and that they are under orders from Washington to keep quiet and not to talk to the media.
“We are caught in a political crossfire,” the source told me. “The bottom line is we are in the middle. We are doing a really good job. This agency shelters a lot of people. We feel like we are getting shot at. We didn’t get into this to get beat up. We thought this was a noble thing to do.”
BCFS said communication from HHS has been sporadic at best.
“I wish we had better communication,” the source said. “I don’t know what they are doing in Washington."
BCFS also addressed the issue of the Lackland facility’s security forces, whom some workers call “brown shirts.” BCFS said the security personnel are off-duty law enforcement officers and that their incident management personnel wear tan shirts and navy pants – hence the nickname.
But former staff workers say the “brown shirts” treated them like prisoners – and monitored their every move. Workers were not allowed to have personal cellphones, and one staffer told me her telephone had been monitored.
“I can’t imagine them being inappropriate with anyone,” my BCFS source told me. “They might be direct. They might be firm. The rules are the federal government’s rules.”
BCFS denied any knowledge of phone monitoring and defended its no-cellphone policy.
“Folks would be tempted to take pictures of these kids,” my BCFS source said.
So there you have it, folks. HHS would have you believe their refugee camps are happy places – like summer camp – where healthy, well-fed children frolic and play with nary a care in the world. It’s as if they’ve created a taxpayer-funded utopia – guarded by brown shirts.
But I’m still bothered by a nagging question. If these refugee camps are truly the land of milk and honey, then why the secrecy? Why the fence guards?
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.