Despite several deaths in their custody, Border Patrol won’t vaccinate migrant children

by | Aug 20, 2019 | Health Care, Policy

The U.S. government says it’s not vaccinating migrant children held in Customs and Border Patrol custody.

In an email to CNBC, which first reported the news, a spokesperson for the agency said they don’t plan on vaccinating migrant children “due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs.” 

Several migrant children have already died in or shortly after being released from the agency’s custody. At least three of them passed away because the flu, according to a group of doctors from Harvard and John Hopkins who recently urged Congress to investigate. 

“During the influenza season, vaccination should be offered to all detainees promptly upon arrival in order to maximize protection for the youngest and most vulnerable detainees,” the physicians wrote.

Critics have long warned that conditions in the camps, like lack of hygiene and sanitary conditions, could be dangerous to migrant children. 

Despite an executive order signed by Trump in 2018 that nominally ended family separations, recent investigative reports show that the cruel practice is still going on. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 700 children were separated between the signing of Trump’s executive order and May of this year. The civil rights group expects that number to climb to more than 1,000 by the end of 2019. | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at

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