Migrant Detainees

Physicians Protest for Flu Vaccine Availability for Detained Migrants

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Six medical professionals were handcuffed outside of the San Diego Sector Border Patrol headquarters Tuesday while protesting Trump-administration rules that disallow them from providing flu care to detained migrants.

A group of medical professionals, students and advocates showed up to the facility waving signs and chanting, “No more deaths,” and “No mas muertes.”

The protest came in response to a proposed pilot flu clinic program that allegedly went ignored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to Doctors for Camp Closures.

At least six physicians who laid in the street blocking the facility’s driveway were detained and cited. A doctor among the group said the demonstrators were given a warning to disperse but they did not cooperate.

Protesters brought flu shots and care packages to detained immigrants in San Ysidro on Wednesday. 

“In solidarity, we all kept calm and we knew we needed to stay there until the end of whatever needed to happen," Dr. Mario Mendoza said.

Video from the demonstration shows a group of federal law enforcement officers approaching the protesters, gently helping them up off the street and placing them in handcuffs.

Dr. Mendoza said he and fellow protesters were detained in a conference room for about an hour while federal officials cited them.

Another group demonstrated for the same cause in October and tried to bring flu kits and sanitation packets for detainees but were denied.

In response to that protest, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol gave NBC 7 the following statement:

“In general, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccines to those in our custody. This is due to the short-term stay of detainees in our custody, the time it takes for a vaccine to take effect, and the complexities of operating a vaccination program. Persons in our custody who require a vaccine are referred to the local-area health system and, if deemed necessary, will be vaccinated by medical personnel at that site. During situations that involve public-health concerns, CBP coordinates with local health-care authorities and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as appropriate.”

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