Over the time, the US has experienced an increased number of asylum seekers that has not only overpopulated the country but also compromised the availability of man power and resources at the border. Refugee’s ill-health that is often jeopardized because of interrupted care and poor living conditions during the migration process has become another big concern for the government.
Recently, there has been a surge in flu cases amongst the detained asylum seekers, a crisis that appears to have been taken lightly by the border officials.
As noted, Customs and Border Protection barred a group of licensed physicians, who arrived with full preparations at the Chula Vista border patrol station in San Ysidro on Monday, to operate a free flu clinic for the detained migrants.
Unable to treat the asylum seekers with anti-flu shots, the doctors felt helpless and warned of more deaths, while being turned away from San Diego’s Customs and Border Protection facility. Since, the migrants are kept in cold weather together, without any vaccination, the doctors have stated that the situations might lead to potential damages in the future.
In the past, at least three children, aged two, six and 16, seeking asylum in the US immigration custody, died because of flu. Since then, concerns about health hazards and unsafe conditions for asylum seekers in detention have grown on a wider scale.
This is the time, when the physicians expect the government to intervene in the issue. It’s been more than a month since the doctors have been urging the administration to vaccinate the asylum seekers in custody. In November, they even offered to set up a free pilot clinic that was rejected by the CBP, with statements that there will be logistical challenges to the move.
CBP that is responsible for enforcing immigration laws throughout the country, also has a moral responsibility of providing vaccines to the asylum seekers, who fall ill in the detention facility. Negligence to reasonable care might result in a flu-epidemic that could even spread to other parts of the country.
Unlike Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which operates long-term detention and has “comprehensive medical support services”, CBP operates short-term detention, and a flu clinic does not seem feasible to the officials.
But the situations inside the CBP have often contradicted their short-term plan. The records show that several children and adults have been held in crowded conditions under the CBP for more than 72 hours, with a little explanation.
Taking sides with the CBP, a DHS spokesperson criticized the doctors on Tuesday, tweeting, “Of course Border Patrol isn’t going to let a random group of radical political activists show up and start injecting people with drugs.”
The asylum seekers are not only devoid of basic facilities but are under a lot of physical and emotional stress, which have worsened their conditions. Those perfectly fit don’t care about them, while the ones who care are being seen as interfering in the immigration procedure, leading to humanitarian crisis at the border.