The overcrowding problem at the border has led to another epidemic that has recently developed. Immigration officers have had to place over 5,200 adults in quarantine after they were exposed to cases of mumps or chickenpox. There has been a significant increase in the number of cases seen in the detention centers around the nation.
The number of quarantine people currently stands at 5,200 people. Those that have been exposed to mumps stand at 4,200 and 800 have been exposed to chickenpox. Only a handful of people have been exposed to both diseases. Several weeks ago the Department of Homeland Security asked for more funding to help with the overcrowding and the medical concerns that were starting to show up at the border.
The problem is that the request has fallen on deaf ears. Congress has been so wrapped up in trying to impeach the President that it has neglected its duty to provide the needed funding. Some reports have shown that expired food has been found as well as bad bathroom conditions, housing issues, and many other problems.
The people that have been quarantined have been exposed to the illness. In a span of six months alone, there were 297 confirmed cases of mumps. This poses a risk to everyone involved with these people. Right now there are around 52,000 adults in custody and currently waiting for their fate to be revealed.
This means that 10 percent of the people are now in a quarantined state. Nathalie Asher, who is an ICE executive associate director, has stated, “I think there is heightened interest in this situation because it’s the mumps, which is a new occurrence in custody, but preventing the spread of communicable disease in ICE custody is something we have demonstrated success doing.”
She has also stated regarding the length of time they will be detained, “From an operational perspective, the impact is significant in the short and long term and will result in an increase in cohort detainees’ length of stay in detention, an inability to effect removal of eligible cohort detainees, and postponing scheduled consular interviews for quarantined detainees.”
When a person is put into quarantine they are kept there for 25 days. This length of time is necessary to make sure the disease has completely run its course. The last thing that needs to happen is for the disease to show up in the general population because there is no space to effectively quarantine people.
Mumps is a highly contagious disease that affects thousands of people every year. It can be spread by sharing eating utensils and cups. It can also be spread by touch as one person touches an area that has been contaminated. It is a hard disease to keep from spreading. This is why quarantine is an effective way to keep it contained.
The number of people coming across the border is continuing to increase. The number of people has started to have an overwhelming effect on people. The morale of officials and officers are currently at a low state. Just being around the sick and hurting is enough to affect any person.
McAleenan has stated, “Their morale is impacted. They’re tired. A lot of them have gotten sick. They’ve been exposed to flu, chickenpox, measles, mumps — all kinds of challenges in terms of medical care. They’re spending time overnight in hospitals instead of patrolling the border.”
The overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at the border facilities need to be addressed soon. In some cases, migrants had to stand because there was no place to sit or lay down. In one detention center, there is a maximum capacity of 125 people. It was later reported that the center had over 750 migrants being held there.
The problem at the border has reached a tipping point. It will not take long for the illnesses and diseases to spread to American citizens if things do not improve.
Congress needs to approve the additional funding to the border agents can do their job effectively.