It’s no secret that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a world pandemic impacting the lives of thousands. Today alone it was reported that there are 1,300 plus coronavirus cases in the United States, and some 39 people dead.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging those of us in the United States to wash our hands, cover our nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow, avoid close contact with others in crowded places, stay home if sick, and practice good hygiene.
As a middle-class Mexican-American, these are steps I most certainly can apply to my daily life. More than likely the same goes for you as well. However, what about those who are less fortunate? What about Migrants and Asylum-Seekers living in detentions facilities and along the Southern Border in tent camps?
Currently, there are 38,000 plus Migrants living in 130 private and state-run jails and prisons across the United States–and many of these facilities are potentially overcrowded and unsanitary for Migrants.
There are also 2,500 plus Migrants and Asylum-Seekers (500 are children) living in tents in Matamoros, Mexico along the Southern Border–all of which are living together in crowded and unsanitary spaces.
In other words, Migrants and Asylum-Seekers living in detention facilities and tents don’t have the luxury of avoiding close contact with others in crowded places, practicing good hygiene or even going home if they’re feeling sick because they have no home. Furthermore, in this NPR article, it was reported that Migrants weren’t receiving proper medical care in detention facilities. So do Migrants and Asylum-Seekers have access to adequate medical care? If they come down with some of the side effects of the coronavirus, will they have an opportunity to be tested? If they are diagnosed with the coronavirus, will they be cared for or ignored?
If steps are not taken soon in detention facilities and in the Matamoros tent camp, I fear Migrants and Asylum-Seekers will potentially be the latest victims of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Sadly, if steps are not taken soon, we might even see more Migrants and Asylum-Seekers losing their lives in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that’s for sure.
Let’s not forget Migrants and Asylum-Seekers during this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Pray for them.
By Rondell Treviño