While politicians in Washington, D.C., battle with each other over border wall funding, agents on the ground are facing an uphill medical battle trying to keep those waiting at the border healthy.
There have already been two tragic deaths of young children at the United States border, prompting extra scrutiny of the Border Patrol agents working at the border. As IJR Blue reported, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for full investigations into the children’s deaths.
The investigations into the deaths were largely focused on what actions Customs and Border Protection (CBP) took to help the individual children, but CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan explained that the situation has grown far beyond a handful of ill children.
According to a report by The Washington Times, CBP is juggling several outbreaks at its facilities due to migrants entering the country after traveling in the caravans from Central America.
McAleenan explained that the migrants aren’t becoming ill in CBP protection, but rather, they are arriving with illnesses:
“Many were ill before they departed their homes. We’re talking about cases of pneumonia, tuberculosis, parasites. These are not things that developed urgently in a matter of days.”
The Washington Times reported that CBP sends an average of 50 migrants a day to seek medical care for issues ranging from the stomach flu to pregnancy complications.
One reason so many of the migrants arrive with an illness is due to the fact that most of the people walked to the U.S. from Central America with young children, making illnesses easy to spread.
Of those who are referred to get medical attention by CBP, 28 percent are under the age of 5.
McAleenan explained that there have been 450 different medical cases that needed to be addressed — including flu, parasites, blood infections, abscesses, tuberculosis, and pneumonia — since December 22 alone.
The Washington Times also reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been on the scene attempting to get the stop the illnesses from spreading both inside the camps and beyond. The CDC claimed that the migrant shelters could become incubators for diseases if they are not properly managed.