Since Oct. 1, 2018, the Border Patrol, which works in rural areas between border crossings, has “seen an increase in the numbers of apprehended individuals requiring medical assistance.” A total of 2,224 migrants, primarily from Guatemala and Honduras, have been hospitalized due to health issues that could not be treated on site in the last month alone, according to a CBP statement.
The department said the spike in illnesses among migrants is forcing federal law enforcement to spend less time focused on serious threats because they are facilitating hospital and urgent care trips. It’s also affecting communities that are trying to help with medical emergencies but are severely short-staffed.
For example, Hidalgo County, located in the southernmost part of New Mexico, is comprised of fewer than 5,000 residents. The average resident makes $32,000 a year, and the low incomes mean the county has less money to use. Its general budget is just $1.7 million.