Doctors trying to vaccinate detained migrants arrested

"We just don't want more people to die." These doctors went to the border to provide flu vaccinations — but they wound up in jail.

CBP says no

The U.S. Border Patrol arrested doctors offering free flu shots to detained migrants in San Diego. Since last December, 3 children in U.S. custody — ages 2, 6, and 16 — have died from influenza. While CBP doesn’t have a vaccination program – ICE says its long-term detention centers do vaccinate immigrants. A group called Doctors For Camp Closures are demanding agents let them give free flu shots to migrants. They say it's in response to the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody.

Need for action

“Border Patrol said that they would not be allowing us to access that, they didn't think it was feasible to provide flu vaccinations to people. This is flu season right now. I'm seeing my first cases at work. We know there's a lot of cases. There's been an uptick recently in cases of influenza. And the intervention really needs to happen now. We just don't want more people to die. I mean, from all of the reports we've heard, there's significant amount of medical neglect and suffering going on. We hear descriptions of people being placed in very cold cells, sick children and adults being placed in isolation in freezing cells. None of these conditions are safe or healthy for a human person. We're going to keep fighting in any way that we can. The goal is just to keep people safe and to keep people healthy and we'll do what it takes to get there,” Marie DeLuca, MD co-founder of Doctors for Camp Closure tells Brut.

Fighting against an outdated policy

CBP maintains it has never been a practice to administer vaccines, and the policy is not new. Doctors for Camp Closures said they will continue to meet with agents and the sector chief to once again request they let doctors in.


December 13, 2019 11:41 PM