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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials report that agents and officers are referring an average of 55 migrants per day to hospitals. Over the past four years, this resulted in a taxpayer cost of $98 million.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings told reporters in Washington, D.C. Tuesday that Border Patrol agents are facing both national security and a humanitarian crises. The challenges have been brought on by the massive numbers of family units and unaccompanied minors.
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“We are committed to addressing these humanitarian needs but the current situation is sustainable,” Hastings said regarding Border Patrol agents being pulled off the national security mission to assist migrants with medical needs. “The increased flow (of migrants) combined with the stress of the journey, the crowded conveyances, and flu season has resulted in significant increases in the medical referrals for Border Patrol.”
“Currently, the Border Patrol is sending an average of 55 people per day for medical care,” the operations chief explained. “During December, this was as high as 63.”
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He said that if the trend continues, Border Patrol agents will refer 31,000 people for medical treatment this year. This is up from 12,000 in 2018 — an increase of 158 percent.
Hastings explained the impact on Border Patrol operations for these medical referrals.
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“Since December 22, 2018, U.S. Border Patrol agents have spent over 57,000 hours at a hospital or medical facility,” he reported. “This equates to just under 5,700 shifts of hospital watch during these 72 days at a cost of $2.2 million in Border Patrol salaries.”
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told the reporters that since December, CBP interviewed 27,000...
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