Serious injuries suffered by migrants climbing the US-Mexico border wall rose 460% in the two years after Trump ordered the height of the steel barrier increased to 30 feet
- A research study by UC San Diego Health found that 375 migrants who fell off a 30-foot border wall received treatment at their trauma center between 2019 and 2021
- In comparison, from 2016 to 2019, the facility’s unit received 67 people with serious injuries caused by border wall falls
- According to the report, 16 migrants have died after falling from the border wall since 2019, after no deaths were recorded in previous years
- The study examined admissions to medical facilities related to the border wall from January 2016 to December 2021
The number of serious injuries suffered by migrants attempting to climb the border wall in south San Diego has increased nearly five-fold since 2019 after former President Donald Trump increased the height from just 6 feet to 30 feet .
UC San Diego Health said it had treated 375 people for serious injuries between 2019 and 2021. This compares to just 67 such cases from 2016 to 2019.
UC San Diego Health also reported 16 deaths since 2019, compared to zero deaths previously.
The study examined admissions to medical facilities related to the border wall from January 2016 to December 2021.
“Raising the border wall along the San Ysidro and El Centro sectors has been touted as making the barrier ‘impassable,’ but that hasn’t stopped people from struggling with momentous results,” wrote Dr. Amy Liepert of UC San Diego Medical Director of Acute Surgery.
At least 375 migrants were injured and 16 died after falling from a 405-mile border wall that former President Donald Trump raised to 30 feet between 2019 and 2021, according to a research report from UC San Diego Health
dr Amy Liepert speaks with Cuban migrant Hector Almeida, who broke his leg falling off a border wall in San Diego in April
Authorities in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, carry the body of a migrant found near a metal border wall near the Santa Teresa border crossing on November 9, 2021
dr Liepert called the spike in migrant injuries and deaths “an invisible public health crisis” that is ongoing and “has significantly impacted major local health care providers in San Diego.”
Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 24, 2017, resulting in the replacement of existing barriers that were between 6 and 17 feet high and raising them to 30 feet in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The report found that migrants who fell off the new border wall sustained serious injuries to their brains, faces and limbs. Many of the patients required hospitalization in the intensive care unit and multiple surgeries.
“Additional capacities and associated costs were not taken into account in the funds provided by the federal government to strengthen and increase the border barrier system,” said Liepert. “Hospitalization costs for immigrants injured by the border wall at UC San Diego Health alone are estimated to be approximately $13 million between 2019 and 2021.”
The UC San Diego Health Study criticized the Trump administration for failing to account for the costs incurred by the medical facility for treating uninsured migrants and prolonged hospital stays because it does not qualify for treatment at rehabilitation centers or therapy had after they were released.
Asylum-seeking migrants walk near the border wall April 6 after crossing the Rio Grande River in El Paso, Texas
Asylum-seeking migrants wait to be detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Yuma, Arizona, on February 21
Trump managed to erect hundreds of new roadblocks along the southwestern border with Mexico to live up to his original campaign pledge to fight crossing of undocumented immigrants
He promised Mexico would foot the bill for the border structure, but instead the US spent $11 billion in taxpayer money, mostly from Defense Department funds.
“This is a local public health crisis that has degraded the bed capacity of trauma centers, leading to staff shortages and straining our extremely dedicated health professionals,” wrote Dr. Jay Doucet, department head of trauma and surgical critical care at UC San Diego, according to The Health. “It is also a humanitarian crisis where people are seriously injured or dying at the border, and because this is happening it is also impacting the available access to trauma care for San Diego.”