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Immigration

460% more migrants injured from climbing the border wall

The injuries found on migrants were caused by falls off of the wall, which resulted in severe damage to the brain, face, and limbs.

Border Wall
Muro fronterizo | EFDN

May 18, 2022 6:10pm

Updated: May 18, 2022 8:59pm

The number of immigrants with severe injuries from attempts to climb over the border wall have increased by 460% since 2019, when former President Donald Trump raised the height of the wall, according to a study by US San Diego Health.

According to U.S. San Diego Health, around 375 people were treated for injuries caused by climbing the wall between 2019 and 2021, compared to 67 cases from 2016 to 2019. Additionally, there have been around 16 deaths, compared to zero in the previous period.

In 2017, Trump signed an executive order to replace more than 400 miles of the wall that ranged from as low as 6 feet to 17 feet for barriers of up to 30 feet in sections of the southwestern border. Furthermore, he added around 50 miles of a new barrier.

“The height increase of the border wall along the San Ysidro and El Centro sectors was touted as making the barrier 'unclimbable' but that has not stopped people from attempting to do with consequential results,” wrote Dr. Amy Liepert, UC San Diego Health’s medical director of acute care surgery.

The report claims that many of the injuries found on migrants were caused by falls off of the wall, which resulted in severe damage to the brain, face, and limbs.

The patients had “significant brain and facial injuries or complex fractures of the extremities or spine,” many of which required “intensive care and staged operative reconstructions,” added Liepert.

However, because the undocumented migrants did not have health insurance, they could not go to rehabilitation centers and stayed at the hospital for longer periods of time to recover.

“Additional capacity and associated costs were not accounted for in the federally appropriated funds to reinforce and heighten the border barrier system,” Liepert said. “Hospital costs for border wall-injured immigrants at UC San Diego Health alone are estimated to be approximately $13 million between 2019 and 2021.” 

“The care of these injured immigrants is not only a humanitarian problem but also a public health crisis that further worsened trauma center bed capacity, staff shortages, and professionals’ moral injury,” the report concluded.