If you have been keeping up with the news, you’ll know about the caravan migrants that have fled their countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
They claimed that they are fleeing their home countries to avoid persecution, poverty, and violence. Many of the migrants have also stated that their goal is to settle within the United States despite warnings of arrest and deportation.
With that said, one of the main concerns about the traveling Central American migrants is their access to medical care or lack thereof. Throughout their journey, the migrants’ access to health care is limited.
Fortunately, thanks to concerned individuals and rights advocates, migrants have several options for health care.
Caravan Migrants: Which Health Care Options Do They Have?
1. Take Advantage of Mexico’s Warm Welcome
Previous Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has welcomed the Central American migrants and even issued plans to provide temporary work permits, shelters, education, and public health benefits. In a video statement, Peña Nieto even addressed the caravan and said that “You’re at home.”
He said: “You will receive medical attention and send your children to school. You will have an official, temporary identification to do the necessary paperwork while you regularize your situation.” Even the newly elected Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is actively encouraging the caravan migrants to stay and work in Mexico.
Mexico City’s embrace of the caravan situation also extended to its citizen. Many doctors and dentists have volunteered for free checkups. City employees are also managing a small dispensary of essential supplies such as feminine products, diapers, toilet paper and other toiletries.
However, the Mexican government has made it clear that although they are willing to provide support for the migrants, it’s simply doesn’t have the capacity to support all of them.
2. Health Care Volunteers
There’s no doubt that the grueling trip has taken its toll from the asylum-seeking migrants. As thousands of migrants wait in Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S., a process that may take many weeks and months, there are ever-increasing concerns about the caravan migrants’ health.
Fortunately, there are good Samaritans in the form of doctors, nurses and volunteers that cross the border to provide medical help. Non-profit organizations such as the San Diego Border Dreamers have taken on the gauntlet of providing the health care needs of the migrants.
Although many migrants are now living in large government-run shelters that are helped by Mexican health care professionals, there are still many informal shelters within Mexico City where medical care is non-existent. This is where organizations like the San Diego Border Dreamers have focused their volunteering efforts.
Many of these volunteers find out where medical care is most needed through word of mouth.
Many migrants have expressed their interest to settle in the U.S. However, if it’s a critical situation, returning home might just be the safest option. There are already hundreds of migrants who have accepted Mexico’s offer of “voluntary repatriation” and go back to their home countries.
With that said, there is no shortage of health care providers in Mexico that can provide medical repatriation services for migrants. Medical repatriation means that the person will be assisted to return home to receive proper medical attention.
While it is in no way in line with most of the migrants’ goal to settle in the U.S., sometimes it’s better to live and fight another day.
Promote Dignity and Respect of All Migrants
That wraps up the health care options for caravan migrants who are seeking medical attention. While not all of these options are ideal, it’s good to know that the migrants have options that they can take advantage of once the need arises.