Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents and medical staff treated nearly 30 migrants over the past weekend for illnesses, injuries, and a gunshot wound.
A 21-year-old Mexican national approached medical staff at the Yuma Sector Central Processing Center (CPC) on January 11 with a gunshot wound. The migrant said the injury to his foot occurred in Mexico two weeks earlier. He claimed that he and a friend got in a fight while drinking and using drugs. The argument led to the friend pulling a firearm and shooting the migrant in the foot. Agents transported the man to the Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) for treatment.
Earlier that day, an 11-year-old Guatemalan boy reported an open flesh wound on his right ankle. The agents transported the child to the YRMC. Doctors gave the boy medication for cellulitis.
A 53-year-old Mexican man requested medical assistance from agents in the Yuma CRC on January 12. The agents transported the man to the YRMC where doctors determined he had suffered a heart attack during the previous 24 hours due to the use of methamphetamine.
A migrant mother approached medical staff later that day to report that her two-year-old daughter had sustained a possible fracture to her right arm. The mother claimed the little girl fell out of a moving vehicle in Mexico eight days before they illegally entered the U.S. The medical staff arranged transportation to the YRMC for evaluation and treatment.
The following day, a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor approached agents and reported that he had been sexually assaulted after he entered Mexico from Guatemala. He offered a report from the Mexican Government that documented the sexual assault. The incident occurred on November 3, 2018, and the young man continued his travels across Mexico to illegally enter the U.S. The agents arranged transportation to the YRMC for evaluation.
During the last week of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials referred 451 cases to medical providers, Breitbart News reported. Of those, 129 were children under the age of five and 88 were between the ages of six and fourteen. The remaining 42 aged between 15 and 17, officials reported. These referrals resulted in at least 17 hospitalizations for illness.
“Vulnerable populations are embarking on the dangerous journey north in record numbers putting themselves and minors in harm’s way, last month 22,000 minors illegally crossed our borders,” DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a written statement at that time. Of those, approximately 5,000 cross the border without a parent or guardian as Unaccompanied Alien Children, she said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said, “We are facing an unprecedented crisis on the southern border that is putting the most vulnerable populations at risk. 129 children under the age of five have been referred for emergency medical care in the last week. The care of those in CBP custody is paramount, and the United States Border Patrol is doing everything in its power to handle this crisis.”
“The status quo is not acceptable,” the commissioner said. “As [DHS Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen has stated, the system is at the breaking point. Border Patrol stations built decades ago are not resourced to handle this crisis and are not the best facilities to house children with their parents for extended periods.”