Health Concerns Mount for Migrant Children at Outdoor Holding Sites

A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether the government must provide shelter, food and medical care to minors while they await processing.

To Dr. Theresa Cheng, the scene was “apocalyptic.”

She had come to Valley of the Moon, an open-air holding site in San Diego’s rural Mountain Empire, to provide volunteer medical care to asylum seekers who had breached the United States-Mexico border wall and were waiting to be apprehended by American authorities.

Among the throngs at this and other sites, she found children with deep lacerations, broken bones, fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, even seizures. Some were hiding in dumpsters and overflowing porta-potties. An asthmatic boy without an inhaler was wheezing in the acrid smoke from brush and trash fires, which had been lit for warmth.

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