In a March 2022 report from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), narrating the September 2021 mass migration event in Del Rio, Texas, migrants’ testimonies offered several examples of CBP personnel denying medical care.
Many individuals reported that CBP personnel outright denied their requests for medical care, telling them to “go back to Mexico.” Multiple individuals reported that when they requested medical assistance from personnel, instead of medication or medical assistance, they were given a single piece of bread and a hot water bottle. For example, a Haitian man traveling with his wife and two-year-old daughter described how his daughter became very sick with gastrointestinal issues and respiratory issues from the dust. She was vomiting frequently, had a high fever, and visible difficulty breathing. Despite the man’s pleading and repeated requests for help, CBP personnel denied this man’s child medical treatment on September 18th.
A Haitian woman’s son had constant diarrhea and developed a high fever. Eventually her son was so ill that she twice sought help at a medical tent where there were personnel who appeared to be doctors. The woman recalled that the medical personnel treated her baby “like he was nothing.” Instead of paying attention to and treating her son, they kept taunting her by asking her “when her number would be called so that she would be put in jail and then deported.” Eventually they gave her some liquid drops and some ice gel packs for his fever, but those treatments did not appear to help her son’s condition. One couple described that when their nine-month-old child developed a severe rash from the dust, they went to the medic tent on September 21st to request medical assistance.  The personnel at the medic tent gave the couple a hot bottle of water and refused to provide the infant with further medication or medical care.
…One newborn infant almost died after being held in the encampment for several days. He survived only after HBA intervened and advocated for his admission to a hospital in Del Rio. The newborn’s condition had grown so precarious that, after he was finally removed from the Del Rio encampment, he had to be airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas where specialists were able to intervene and provide life-saving medical treatment. One Haitian woman described, “I witnessed pregnant women going into labor taken in to give birth and then sent back under the bridge without further access to healthcare. And that was really heartbreaking for me. I’ll never forget that.” An individual reported that after a pregnant Haitian asylum seeker went into labor, U.S. officials eventually took the woman out of the encampment, but then returned her and her newborn to the encampment mere hours after delivery.
—Beyond the Bridge: Documented Human Rights Abuses and Civil Rights Violations Against Haitian Migrants in the Del Rio, Texas Encampment (United States: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Haitian Bridge Alliance, March 29, 2022) https://rfkhr.imgix.net/asset/Del-Rio-Report.pdf.
Footnotes from above:
: In-person interview by RFK Human Rights lawyer with Haitian individual in Acuña, Mexico (Sept. 25, 2021).: Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Biden, No. 1:21-CV-03317 (D.D.C.) (filed Dec. 20, 2021), https://i com/data/documenttools/hba-v-biden/a8106eacd7c45afe/full.pdf.: In-person interview by RFK Human Rights lawyer with Haitian individual in Acuña, Mexico (Sept. 25, 2021).: In-person interview and observation by HBA caseworker with Haitian individual in Del Rio, Texas (Sept. 19-25, 2021).: In-person interview by HBA case worker with Haitian individual in Del Rio, Texas (Sept. 23, 2021).: Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Biden, No. 1:21-CV-03317 (D.D.C.) (filed Dec. 20, 2021), https://i com/data/documenttools/hba-v-biden/a8106eacd7c45afe/full.pdf.