Rep. Roger Marshall went down to the Mexico border last week to check on the health of those applying for asylum.
He and the other doctors who traveled with him offered no medical care, he said, because their out-of-state licenses wouldn’t allow them to practice medicine. At no point did Marshall enter the detention centers where migrant children are being kept by the United States government. These detention centers have been subject to claims of illness, abuse, and unsanitary conditions lately, according to reports by CNN, the New York Times, and numerous other news organizations.
Marshall witnessed the intake of immigrants, he said, but didn’t visit a child detention facility.
He did, however, have an opinion to offer on the general health of those attempting to cross the border. He described the situation as a “crisis” which he believed could only be fixed by the liberal application of a wall to the United State’s southern border.
“The take-home message to me is that President (Donald) Trump is right,” Marshall said. “We do have to secure the border, we have to build the wall. Otherwise there’s just going to be more and more people coming and it could even get worse.”
During his time on the border, Marshall saw three families walk up to the border out of the river who had been traveling for about a month.
“They’d been on the road for 30 days, hadn’t showered, barely eaten, they were dehydrated,” he said.
They turned themselves in at the border, hoping to be granted asylum.
Marshall said he believes immigrants are turning themselves in at the border because they’ll “get fed, housing, healthcare” and an asylum hearing.
“It’s relief,” he said. “Just relief from a brutal journey.”
Marshall listed a healthcare facility where many young children were being treated.
“A large number of them were under the age of 10,” he said. “You get 4-year-old to 5-year-old unaccompanied minors — people without parents. So just to see 40, 50, 60 sick kids, under the age of 10 without a parent. It is very overwhelming. They’re not with a parent because because the parent hired the cartel to get them across the border or else they were kidnapped — something else happened.”
Health conditions Marshall said he witnessed included scabies, lice, measles, mumps, and flu.
He said about 10 — 15 percent of the people processed each day at the border need medical attention of some kind.
He praised border control agents and doctors at the border.
“The money we’re giving them will help with the problem, but it’s not going to cure the problem,” Marshall said.
Marshall said he wants to see changes to the current laws.
“Congress needs to do its job and fix this broken immigration system that we have now,” Marshall said. “The judicial committee needs to get on the job and rewrite the legislation that fixes the problem and the problem is our current laws promote asylum. So we need to close that loophole. Right now, anybody from Central America that crosses our border with a child is pretty well guaranteed an asylum here and no matter what they say or what the real reason is.”