RNs to Deploy to El Paso, Texas to Provide Care to Migrants and Asylum Seekers
The Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), a disaster-relief project of the California Nurses Foundation and National Nurses United, is sending a team of volunteer nurses to El Paso, Texas to assist in providing basic medical support to migrants and asylum seekers. National Nurses United (NNU) is concerned that many of these migrants, including families and unaccompanied children, need medical care after their long and arduous journey and detention in federal facilities that have come under intense scrutiny following the deaths of two children.
Conditions in those facilities are reportedly so poor that one Texas representative described them as “subhuman.” The New York Times reported detainees are being held in frequently cold facilities, without receiving adequate care, and subject to influenza, respiratory distress, and dehydration.
In December, the deaths of an 8-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, both migrant children who were in U.S. custody, prompted NNU to condemn the presidential administration policies that failed to provide humanitarian assistance to those seeking asylum from violence in their home countries.
NNU Vice President Cathy Kennedy, RN, says she sympathizes with those forced to flee violence and says providing care is the humanitarian thing to do.
“As nurses, we are all about patient care and making sure people have the support they need, emotional and medical, and we will be there to be that support,“ said Kennedy. “It is important for us to take a look at what is happening and to provide the care that is needed, which is why I’m volunteering with RNRN in El Paso.”
The nurses’ deployment is scheduled to start February 1 and run through February 5. They will be volunteering at shelters run by Annuciation House and their community partners. They will also be assessing needs for future RNRN deployments to the Texas and Arizona border areas.
Jessica Rose, an operating room nurse, felt compelled to deploy with RNRN in part because of her own family history.
“I came from immigrant parents. I feel that having lived in border towns, now Tucson and before, El Paso, we have a sense of responsibility for everyone because we live in that community and see with our own eyes the needs of immigrants," said Rose. “Because I’m a nurse, it’s definitely my duty and my calling to help. We care about people. All we should see is a human in need. We need to come together to help the person no matter where they’re from.”