U.S.-Mexico Border Immigrant Update

Today the National Hispanic Medical Association informed the leader of the Customs and Border Protection Agency of the Department of Homeland Security about our strong concerns about the treatment of immigrants who are being detained for their Refugee/Documentation hearings.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General released its findings today from inspections of five Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in south Texas in June. DHS found squalid conditions in several detention centers for migrant families and children in Texas, including serious overcrowding, minors going without hot meals for days, lack of clean clothes, and flu outbreaks. “We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of DHS agents and officers, and to those detained,” the report said.

Under a 1997 court judgment referred to as the Flores settlement, the U.S. government is required to provide a certain level of humane care to children in its custody, including that any facility must be “safe
and sanitary.”  Flores requires that immigrant children “accompanied” by parents have to be released within 20 days. Due to the backlog and the immense numbers of immigrants, the detention centers have become overcrowded and unhealthy and very stressful for all involved.

We are very concerned and need more physician volunteers to provide care for our communities in Federal Detention Centers at the Border. If you or colleagues are interested — send us your name and contact information to Wanda Salcedo at NHMA@nhmamd.org.

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