Crisis at the Border: Border Agents Not Only Tasked with Keeping America Safe, but with Saving Migrant Lives
Agents are Increasingly Responding to Migrants Medical Concerns, Taking Them Away from their Border Security Duties
WASHINGTON — Last night, we heard from President Trump what we have known for years: we are experiencing a humanitarian crisis at our southwest border. A record number of migrants reach our borders in need of urgent medical care after they cross over illegally. With massive caravans traveling during the winter months, medical issues of those migrants overwhelm our Border Patrol agents who are unfortunately becoming de facto first responders of sick and distressed people.
Border Patrol Medical Response:
- The Border Patrol transported 2,224 people to local hospitals between Dec. 22, 2018 and Jan. 24, 2019.
- During the same time period, Border Patrol spent 19,299 hours supporting these hospital visits, including transporting migrants to and from the hospital and watching each individual or family while they receive care. As a result, fewer agents are performing border security duties.
- Last month, Border Patrol arrested a group of 247 illegal aliens. 50 of them required immediate treatment or evaluation from a medical professional at a hospital.
- Transporting these migrants to the hospital utilized nearly all available agents, severely limiting the Border Patrol s ability to process the large group or respond to other border security duties. This meant the migrants spent more time in custody, there were delays in custody transfer coordination, and Border Patrols ability to respond to other illegal cross-border traffic was hindered.
- Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), traffickers who smuggle people to our southwest border, do not care about the health and well-being of those people, they only care about turning a profit.
- Border Patrol rescued a 3-year-old who was abandoned by human traffickers along a river last year.
- Border Patrol also rescued 57 aliens who were abandoned by smuggler guides during a record heatwave of 108 degrees in the Arizona desert. The group included 36 minors, 17 of whom were unaccompanied including a one-year-old toddler. EMTs had to provide a pregnant teenager with intravenous fluids.
Bottom line: Border Patrol agents are not only being asked to ensure the border is secure, but also to keep more and more migrants healthy. This is undoubtedly a humanitarian crisis.
Contact: Nicole Hager