I read a news article yesterday about US Customs Border Protection choosing not to vaccinate migrants. In the article, Evelyn Stauffer, a spokeswoman for the Office of Refugee Resettlement stated, “After leaving CBP custody, children without parents are sent into the care of the US Department of Health and Human Services, where flu vaccines are distributed.” Since December 2018, three children passed away from the flu after being in US custody. Even though migrants can be held up to 72 hours they’re typically held longer, meaning their need for vaccines and or appropriate medical attention is prolonged.
There are differing opinions on the topic of vaccines and migrants. However, take the words “vaccine” and “migrant” out of the picture and look at this from a standpoint of what is right and what is wrong. Since these people are on United States soil, are we responsible for them, specifically their health and well-being while in custody? Is this an issue of civil rights, especially if these individuals are going about process and procedure the correct way? Is it considered negligence on behalf of the United States because refusing to prevent and or treat illness/disease amongst these folks, once in the country, could lead to spreading illness/disease, and potential death? Or should these adults, families and children simply be left to figure things out on their own?
I’m not going to say whether I agree or disagree with the US Customs Border Protection process.
Do I think more can be done? Absolutely.
Do I believe the deaths of those three children could’ve been prevented? Quite possibly.
Regardless of opinions, the real question is, where do we go from here?
It’s to be determined on whether this is a civil rights issue or negligence; maybe it’s neither.
Looking at everything from the viewpoint of an employee of the CBP, and then from the shoes of the migrant- what would you do? How would you feel?