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Harris Makes Her First Visit to the Southern Border

Plus: Whistleblowers urge Biden to ramp up detainee vaccinations, and officials investigate Fort Bliss detention center.

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited the southern border last week, continuously emphasizing that she was focusing on the “root causes” of immigration. She toured an El Paso migrant processing center and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, and spoke with five young girls from Central America. This is Harris’ first visit to the border since she was given the responsibility of managing immigration policies. “The stories that I heard, the interactions that we had today, reinforced the nature of those lack of economic opportunities ― very often violence, corruption and food insecurity, and basic needs not being met, including the fear of cartels and gangs,” Harris said. HuffPost 

In other federal immigration news…

Whistleblowers Urge Biden Administration to Vaccinate Immigrant Detainees

Three whistleblowers sent a letter to the Biden administration urging it to ensure immigrant detainees are being vaccinated. The three subject medical experts, contracted with the Department of Homeland Security and represented by the Government Accountability Project, say the administration isn’t doing enough to provide vaccines to detainees. The letter obtained by CNN, says the Biden administration has done a lot of work to control the pandemic, but that Immigration and Customs Enforcement jails continue “to be a significant source of spread for COVID and disproportionate harm to detainees, workers and the public.”  ICE said in a statement to CNN that it’s working with federal partners to get vaccines “for immediate, nationwide distribution.” CNN 

U.S. Officials Investigating Conditions at Fort Bliss Base Holding Children

The White House announced on Friday that the Biden administration is investigating the conditions of Texas’ U.S. Fort Bliss Army base, where hundreds of migrant minor children are being held. Symone Sanders, a spokesperson for Harris, said President Joe Biden and Harris told Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to manage a “thorough investigation” of conditions of the tent camp. It was reported earlier last week that migrant children at Fort Bliss have been self harming, attempting to escape and suffering panic attacks. Later on Friday, a White House official said Biden didn’t call for a formal investigation as HHS was already investigating. CBS News

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