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HomeNewsImmigrant Advocates Say Asylum Seekers Suffer "Intentional Cruelty" at US-Mexico Border

Immigrant Advocates Say Asylum Seekers Suffer “Intentional Cruelty” at US-Mexico Border

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Volunteers are raising their voices to call attention to the dire conditions of migrants at the US-Mexico border. Theresa Cheng is one such volunteer attending to border medical emergencies.

U.S. Border Patrol agents render medical aid to migrants
Source: Mani Albrecht/GetArchive

During an interview with a media outlet, Cheng painted an emotional picture of the daily trends in the migrant camps. She explained that some asylum seekers called her attention to a bleeding 13-year-old boy. She rushed to the scene and tried to perform CPR to keep the boy’s heart pumping. Along the line, another volunteer called 911. 

To give perspective to how long it takes an ambulance to arrive, Cheng tired out while performing the CPR. Another migrant had to assist during the roughly 60-minute wait. By the time the emergency medical services eventually arrived at the camp, the boy had stopped breathing.

Naturally, Cheng, other volunteers, and the migrants who witnessed the incident were washed with emotions. Most likely, the boy, whose name is Dario Zamudio, would have survived if the ambulance had arrived earlier.

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ALSO READ: Texas Law Allowing the Arrest of Illegal Migrants to Spark Multiple Lawsuits 

Zamudio is just a center point of several other experiences by migrants at the US-Mexico border. Of course, deaths are pretty rare, but immigration and humanitarian advocates are suggesting that the low death rate may not persist for long. Asylum seekers mostly have to wait in camps on the US side of the border. Sometimes, they have to stay for months before getting an appointment to review their asylum status. Unfortunately, most of these camps are open-air camps, not forgetting temperatures are dropping as low as 20F around this time of the year.

Volunteers like Cheng claim to be getting frustrated as each day in the camp goes by. On multiple occasions, Cheng said she tried making medical emergency service personnel see reasons for a rapid response whenever calls come from the camps. For one, many of the migrants are malnourished from many days of walking through the Mexican desert.

POLL — Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

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About four immigrant rights organizations provide humanitarian services to immigrants at the US-Mexico border. These organizations are the Southern Border Communities Coalition, Border Kindness, Al Otro Lado, and the American Friends Service Committee. On Dec. 11, these four organizations filed a joint lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

According to the lawsuit, asylum seekers on the US side of the border are experiencing infringement of their civil rights and civil liberties. They stay in open spaces at freezing temperatures. Likewise, food and water rations are meager. Likewise, the worst case is many of the migrants are being denied medical attention.

Some of the humanitarian organizations report bringing medical personnel to the remote camps, and most of them eventually get evicted. They claim border patrol would often ask for the credentials of the volunteer physicians and deny them access to sick immigrants. Alexander Tenorio, a volunteer physician, points out that subtly preventing migrants from accessing medical care may spell mass disaster. 

ALSO READ: Authorities Shut Down Texas Border Bridges Amid Immigration Surge 

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There is no denying that the recent influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border is resulting in a humanitarian crisis. However, Erika Pinheiro, executive director of Al Otro Lado, points out that the federal government has stepped up resources for CBP operations. Unfortunately, Pinheiro claims the CBP personnel are intentionally subjecting asylum seekers to extreme conditions. It’s probably a ploy to discourage more border crossings.

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