In the past year, United States President Donald Trump has largely changed how the country deals with immigrants who illegally cross the border, particularly the southern border with Mexico. With ramped up security and a severely decreased tolerance for letting undocumented immigrants silently, illegally enter the United States, border patrol agents began holding any and all immigrants they got their hands on in detention facilities similar to dumbed-down jails.
These immigrants are held at such processing facilities – in most cases, at least – for three days, the legal limit. In some cases, detainees are held for as long as a few weeks, which is how long judges take to determine whether immigrants should be granted asylum and allowed into the United States or deported back across the Mexican-American border where they came from.
On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, a processing facility used to temporarily detain people who they catch crossing the Mexican-American border into the United States based in McAllen, Texas, stopped taking in new detainees. This decision was made by United States Customs and Border Protection after a 16-year-old who was sick with influenza died as a direct cause of flu-related symptoms.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokespeople, an unusually large. Number of people were experiencing symptoms that, when pooled together, are indicative of influenza. Since Customs and Border Protection couldn’t reasonably expect to release the detainees to nearby hospitals and expect them to return to the detention facility in McAllen on their own, officials were forced to treat the detainees on-site.
To cut down on the spread of the illness, the Department of Customs and Border Protection began sending detainees to other facilities nearby the detention center in McAllen until they had properly treated enough of the McAllen facility’s detainees and reasonably secured the potential spread of influenza.
Spokespeople made clear to news outlets that the detention facilities on the southern border of the United States are particularly prone to the spread of diseases, ailments, and illnesses because they’re nothing more than warehouses that are sectioned off into large segments with fences.
Each one of these warehouses, including the facility there in McAllen, hold many hundreds of detainees at a time.
The 16-year-old who died was a citizen of Guatemala, a country in Central America that is home to particularly poor economic opportunities and a generally low quality of life.