Local resources have been strained by an increase in illegal immigrants falling from the border wall, according to a special report.

The number of injuries due to the border wall has risen dramatically in recent years, coinciding with attempts to strengthen the barrier.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, over 2 million undocumented immigrants entered the United States unlawfully just last year. Not only law enforcement, but also local doctors and first responders must deal with the influx.

 

 

Dr. Alan Tyroch, founding chair/professor of surgery at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, says that of the 323 patients he saw last year with border-related injuries, 82% were the result of the wall itself.

The border barrier’s height has steadily increased over time, reaching as high as 30 feet in certain places in the most recent additions. While law enforcement officials claim that securing our border is a never-ending war, the toll of migrants’ deaths and the costs of their care are having an impact on border towns.

Increasing the height of the border wall increases the risk of migrant injuries and the need for border barrier rescues.

The Sunland Park Fire Department Chief Daniel Medrano informed KTSM that in 2021 they had the most rescues. Right at 230 for the year,” he said in a statement. According to him, 9 percent of the calls were related to this.

More people trying to cross the border creates more danger, according to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Carlos Rivera, who noted that the El Paso Sector is the third busiest for apprehensions. All kinds of people have tried to get over that fence, he added, from youngsters to families to lone adults, and that’s the most common problem we have here.

Brenda Medina, the anchor of KTSM 9 News, and Border Patrol officers were on the scene when they came upon one of the smuggler’s tools.

According to Rivera, “the transnational criminal groups (command) migrants to scale this border barrier using improvised ladders, we’re not talking about a conventional ladder from Home Depot or any other big box brand.” In order to get over the border fence, migrants are using improvised ladders, which are readily breaking under the weight of their own bodies.

According to Rivera, in order to avoid being arrested, criminal groups may yank the ladder, which creates a distraction for agents so that they can focus on rescuing the migrants instead. Aside from the money, they don’t care about the lives of these people.

One of Border Patrol’s cameras filmed an expectant mother resting on a 6-inch-thick slab of concrete at the barrier’s summit, just yards from a bustling El Paso interstate. It would be better to leave them up there.” In order to avoid consequences, Rivera argued, migrants should be left to fall.

Immediately after the rescues, the immigrants are taken to several facilities in the city, including University Medical Center and Del Sol Medical Center.

People who have complex fractures to their ankles, the lower leg and where they go into the foot, that leg/foot/ankle complex, and these are quite severe fractures,” says Dr. Stephen Flaherty, Del Sol’s trauma medical director.

There is an open fracture because they are landing in the mud, and the bone comes out through the skin. “There is a lot of edema with these fractures,” Flaherty explained. Sometimes it takes a while before the orthopedic surgeons are able to mend the bones. Patients are forced to stay in the hospital for an extended period as a result.”

Dr. Susan McLean, professor of surgery at TTUHSC, claimed that “it’s virtually every day we get somebody injured from going down the border wall.”

At UMC, the vast majority of migrants are cared for. There were 265 patients with border wall-related injuries in 2021, an increase from 125 in 2020, according to McLean and Tyroch.

According to Tyroch, “like severe brain injuries that can present with a coma, and they are a long-lasting type of damage,” Pelvic fractures, rib fractures, and upper-extremity injuries are all common, but the most common injuries we see are those to the lower extremities.

For perspective, doctors compare these injuries to falling from two or three-story buildings. “One in ten persons we encounter from border wall falls has spine damage,” McLean said.

“We have seen people who have fallen from the wall and made their way into the city, and they can’t take the anguish any longer, and they have to call for help,” Medrano added. It’s amazing to us how they’ve made it this far with their injuries, some of them.

Who is picking up the tab for all of these migrants’ medical bills? There is a lot more to it than just local taxes, according to County Commissioner David Stout.

Here’s how it works: Expenses are expected to be $4.8 million, but the charges are expected to be $12.4 million. UMC has received close to $2.8 million in reimbursements from the federal government so far, according to Stout.

To put this in perspective, these figures cover the period from October 1, 2018, to February 15, 2022.

“There are other federal and state funding streams that assist pay for (migration expenses), and just a small fraction of UMC’s total budget comes from local property taxes,” the commissioner further states. The federal government should reimburse them for any patients they bring to UMC since immigration is a federal issue,” Stout said.

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