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Federal Officers are often exposed to Contagious Diseases by Illegal Immigrants, Report Finds

Update Date: Aug 01, 2014 01:55 PM EDT

According to a report issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), federal detention center employees are often at risk of catching different kinds of diseases, such as lice, scabies, tuberculosis and chicken pox when they deal with illegal immigrant children.

In the report, the researchers looked at 87 visits to 63 detention centers throughout Arizona, California and Texas by unaccompanied alien children (UAC). All of the visits were unexpected and had occurred from July 1 to July 16. The researchers found that in two cases, federal agents had contracted chicken pox, which they then gave to their children.

"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," the authors of the report stated according to FOX News. "Two CBP Officers reported that their children were diagnosed with chicken pox within days of the CBP Officers' contact with a UAC who had chicken pox. In addition, USBP personnel at the Clint Station and Santa Teresa Station reported that they were potentially exposed to tuberculosis."

The report found that the communicable diseases infected workers due to unsanitary conditions, particularly when the immigrant children used bathroom facilities. The authors noted that in one center, there was no trained medical tech present and in another four centers, the agents did not provide prescription medication to the detainees.

"Unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities," the report concluded reported by The Hill. "Contract cleaners and DHS employees are working to maintain sanitary conditions."

Overall, the report concluded that the majority of federal agents followed the rules and regulations at these centers. The inspectors did not see any cases of misconduct or inappropriate behavior. They also conducted random interviews with the UAC and did not find any complaints. However, the report revealed that the department is currently investigating a complaint that was filed on June 11 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of 116 UAC.

The report can be found here.

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