An entrance to Fort Bliss is shown in Fort Bliss, Texas. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
UPDATED 7:12 AM PT – Saturday, September 11, 2021
The press have gotten a first look at a military base where the Biden administration has housed evacuees who were airlifted out of Afghanistan. On Friday, military officials gave a tour to several reporters of the Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, which has been processing and housing Afghan evacuees.
Brigade Commander Michael Wagner explained to reporters the exact procedure evacuees must undergo once they landed in the U.S. and arrived to the base.
Fort Bliss is one of eight military installations housing over 60,000 Afghan evacuees who entered the U.S. following the Biden administration’s failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Couple of key things we do here at reception: we’ll first give them a rapid COVID test, a (BinaxNow) test,” he stated. “Then we’ll give them a welcome brief, where we’ll explain what’s going on in the village and what to expect.”
The commander also said all evacuees were given a COVID-19 vaccine before being separated into their respective housing assignment.
“Then we’ll give them a COVID vaccine to help protect, to help the guest population,” he explained. “Then, we’ll get them assigned into housing and then help them move out to accommodations.”
Although the press were allowed inside, officials reportedly barred them from engaging with any evacuees or even spending more than a few minutes in most areas due to “privacy concerns.”