A Mexican pastor is accusing U.S. border patrol of agents of being negligent after recent reports that injured migrants are being sent back to Mexico without any medical attention.
Past Rosalio Sosa, who runs a network of migrant shelters known as Red de Albergues Para Migrantes (RAM), called it a “new low. It’s called negligence.”
Sosa told The Dallas Morning News that RAM’s shelter in Palomas, which opened a year ago, sees about seven injuries per week, both minor and severe, from migrants who were injured along the U.S.-Mexico border wall constructed under the order of former President Donald Trump.
“This has become a war zone, with war injuries and no resources,” Sosa said.
Migrants who spoke to The Morning News recalled their efforts to jump over the barrier and said that after being injured in their attempts, border agents sent them back to Mexico without providing them medical care while they were on U.S. soil.
In response to the stories of these men and questions about how injured migrants are handled by Border Patrol, the agency released a statement saying agents regularly encountered injured migrants and administer first aid if someone is hurt.
El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez said that the medical assistance “may include a Border Patrol agent trained and certified as an EMT; or possibly an ambulance service depending on the severity and complexity of the injury.”
However, Pedro Gomez, who fled Guatemala in January, and Jhon Jairo Ushca Alcoser, who left his home of Ecuador, said they were both injured so badly from falling off the 30-foot wall that they couldn’t walk, yet they were still deported to Mexico without any medical aid from Border Patrol.
Gomez broke both his ankles but was dropped off at the border after being told he would be taken to a U.S. hospital.
“They said ‘stand up, stand up.’ I don’t know where I found the strength,” Ushca Alcoser told The Morning News.
Sosa said X-Rays at the shelter in Palomas revealed that Ushca Alcoser had broken tendons, as well as a fractured back and pelvis.
Border Patrol said that neither of the men were injured during their encounter with agents, according to agency records.
Sosa said he’s preparing for a flood of migrants as the toll of the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen in Latin America. President Joe Biden has also renewed hope that a new administration may be more welcoming to migrants hoping to escape their desperate situations.
Last month, Guatemalan security forces broke up a large caravan of Honduran migrants, but a third of the group reportedly continued their journey toward the U.S. border in hopes of a new life in America.
Biden announced last week that he has terminated the national emergency order issued by his predecessor, declaring “no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”
The president’s new initiative is seeking to process the cases of 25,000 asylum seekers, allowing the first group of migrants to be brought into the U.S. as early as mid-May.
“This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said. “Especially at the border, however, where capacity constraints remain serious, changes will take time. Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border. Due to the current pandemic, restrictions at the border remain in place and will be enforced.”
Newsweek reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for further comment but did not hear back before publication.