Herrell not satisfied after Fort Bliss visit - Albuquerque Journal

Herrell not satisfied after Fort Bliss visit

A visit to a refugee camp in southern New Mexico — where a service member was allegedly assaulted by Afghan refugees — didn’t ease the concerns of the New Mexico congresswoman who represents the district.

Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., last week toured Fort Bliss, including the base’s Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico, where about 9,000 Afghan refugees are staying. Since the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan earlier this year, Herrell has raised concerns about how the country is vetting refugees from the country.

She appeared on Fox News to talk about one particular incident — a report that a female service member was assaulted by a group of refugees. The FBI office in El Paso has confirmed it is investigating the allegation.

“It is still under investigation. At this point, nobody has been charged, nobody has been incarcerated and no parole has been revoked,” Herrell told media after her visit, noting that since the attack, the base has added security cameras and lighting and required military members to travel around the base with at least one other person.

Herrell praised the military for constructing shelter for the refugees.

“We’ve got to understand we have two different situations happening here. Here’s what we got: We got the humanitarian effort and what these (service) men and women are doing on Fort Bliss and around the nation … and we have policy problems,” Herrell told reporters. “The American people deserve to know that these people that are being brought into our nation are being vetted properly.”

A Herrell spokesman said Friday that Herrell’s visit didn’t alleviate her concerns.

“Rep. Herrell’s concerns were not sufficiently addressed at Fort Bliss, despite meeting with the senior commander, Homeland Security, State Department, and FBI,” the spokesman said. “There are still massive unanswered questions regarding the identities of those brought here and our government’s ability to conduct proper vetting to protect Americans.”

IVERMECTIN EXHORTATION: New Mexico’s Democratic senators sent a letter last week to the CEO of Reddit, asking him curb the spread of misinformation on the platform, particularly message threads about using ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug commonly used in livestock, as a treatment for COVID-19.

Acting New Mexico Health Secretary David Scrase has said that the drug has a cultlike following and that two people in the state have died of ivermectin overdose. The drug hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a COVID treatment, although there are plenty of federally approved treatments, such as remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies, he said.

Sens. Ben Ray Luján, Martin Heinrich and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., wrote the letter to CEO Steve Huffman.

“We urge you to promote evidence-based health information and act swiftly to curb the spread of dangerous medical misinformation on your platform,” the senators wrote. “It is unacceptable to sit on the sidelines during a global pandemic while harmful misinformation runs rampant on your platform.”

Ryan Boetel: rboetel@abqjournal.com


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