Heightened Walls, Higher Risks: Surge in Border Wall-Related Falls Raises Alarms for Migrants Safety
Taller Border Walls Result in Increased Injuries and Human Suffering
Efforts to deter illegal border crossings with taller walls along the U.S.-Mexico border have unintended consequences, particularly in California. The surge in falls is causing devastating injuries and hardships for migrants. This article explores the alarming rise in wall-related injuries and its impact on both migrants and the healthcare system.
In recent years, the U.S. government has been building taller and more challenging walls along the border with Mexico to prevent illegal crossings. However, the unintended consequences of these fortifications are becoming increasingly apparent, especially in California.
Miriam Jordan, reporting from the border, noticed a significant number of migrants with wheelchairs, bandages, and casts in shelters. While there is no comprehensive data on injuries and deaths related to these walls, doctors at U.S. border hospitals have observed a clear increase.
Desperation leads some migrants to attempt risky jumps over the walls, resulting in severe traumatic injuries, particularly to the head. The impact of longer falls also leads to shattered extremities. Despite receiving initial treatment, many migrants lack follow-up care upon release, hindering their ability to return to physically demanding jobs or lead normal lives.
During Donald Trump's presidency, a 30-foot-tall steel barrier replaced over 400 miles of fencing in California. Since its completion in 2019, UC San Diego Health's trauma center has seen a sevenfold increase in patients due to falls related to the wall, recording 23 deaths since then, compared to none in the previous four years.
Dr. Jay Doucet, chief of the trauma unit at UC San Diego Health, emphasized the worsening problem, highlighting the significant impact on the hospital system. To accommodate the influx, the hospital converted a postpartum unit into a ward for border-wall casualties, affecting local care as well. Waiting times for spinal procedures have risen, telling an untold and heartbreaking story of unnecessary human suffering.
The surge in falls at the U.S.-Mexico border sheds light on the unintended human toll of stringent border policies, raising concerns about the long-term consequences for migrants and the strained healthcare system.