The United States-Mexico border has long been a dangerous place for migrants seeking to cross into America illegally. This danger was highlighted recently when at least 10 migrants were injured after falling from the border wall in California.

The injuries, which required multiple ambulances to transport the victims to hospitals, serve as a sobering reminder of the risks migrants take in their quest for a better life. With immigration poised to take center stage in the upcoming 2024 presidential election, events like this will likely intensify an already heated debate.

Migrant Injuries at the US-Mexico Border

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department responded to a mass casualty incident at the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday after at least 10 migrants were injured falling from the 30-foot border wall.

Source: YouTube

According to local media reports, the migrants were transported to nearby hospitals, some with serious injuries like broken bones.

What Are The Causes Of Such Border Wall Accidents?

Incidents of injury from border wall falls occur regularly, according to Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program.

Source: YouTube

“We see cases daily of people that are injured from having fallen or burned their hands using the ropes to come down the border wall,” Rios said. The rain likely made the wall slippery, leading more people to fall, Rios believes.

Wall Conditions and Recent Changes Questioned

Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program, stated that migrants regularly sustain injuries from falls or burns while attempting to scale the border wall.

Source: AP/Christian Chavez

Rios was present at the wall shortly before the incident and observed over 100 migrants in the vicinity. He believes recent rain may have made the wall slippery, contributing to the falls.

Deadly by Design

The higher, 30-foot border wall that began expansion in 2020 has led to a spike in life-threatening falls and fatalities, amounting to what physicians call a public health crisis.

Source: AP

Trauma centers in El Paso and San Diego are seeing about one patient per day with injuries from border wall falls, including complex fractures, spinal injuries, and head trauma.

The Dangers of Illegal Border Crossings

Illegal border crossings are inherently dangerous, as migrants attempt to scale walls and navigate rough terrain while avoiding border patrol agents.

Source: Fernando Llano

As the U.S. government has raised the height of border walls to 30 feet in some areas, the number and severity of injuries from falls has increased dramatically.

A Public Health Crisis

Physicians argue that the increase in border wall-related trauma constitutes a public health crisis. It is more than two a day.” The hospital has treated 345 patients with border wall-related injuries this year.

Source: Daniel Ochoa De Olza

Trauma surgeons have begun collecting their data to understand this problem’s scope better.

Injuries and Fatalities From Falling

According to physicians and public health data, the 30-foot steel border fence in place since 2020 has led to a spike in injuries and deaths from falls.

Source: Associated Press/Denis Poroy

County hospitals along the border report receiving one patient per day with border wall fall-related trauma.

Why Migrants Risk Injury to Enter the U.S.?

Zavala, a young mother from Mexico, described clinging to the top of the 30-foot fence until her hands bled, then falling and feeling her bones break.

Source: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

For migrants fleeing violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity, the possibility of permanent injury or even death is outweighed by the necessity of finding safety, work, and a better life for their loved ones.

Role of Advocacy Groups at the Border

While border security aims to reduce unlawful migration, advocacy groups say it should not come at the cost of migrant lives or place an undue burden on border communities and hospitals.

Source: Lee Matz

They advocate for more humane policies, increased medical aid for migrants, and alternative strategies focused on the root causes of migration rather than the militarization of the border.

Newly Proposed Anti-Climbing Features

New sections of barrier at Friendship Park, between San Diego and Tijuana, have metal panels on top to deter climbers.

Source: Alexandra Mendoza

“We continue to see an increase in people that are falling from the border wall and seeking medical treatment,” he said. “In this case, if they fall onto the Mexican side, then we won’t have an accounting for how dangerous this new feature might be.”

The Fortified Wall Spells More Harm

Rios and other advocates argue that as the border wall is fortified, migrants will continue attempting to cross, which will inevitably lead to more falls and injuries.

Source: Wikimedia/Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde

Additional anti-climbing mechanisms may deter some migrants, but for many, the motivation to enter the U.S. will outweigh the increased dangers.

Immigration a Top Issue in the 2024 Presidential Race

Immigration policy is poised to be a prominent issue in the 2024 U.S. presidential election. According to recent surveys, a vast majority of Americans view illegal immigration as an urgent matter that demands attention.

Source: Patrick Semansky

President Biden has sought to roll back many of the hardline policies instituted under former prsident Trump’s administration.

On Going Bipartisan Agreement Stalled in Congress

With bipartisan agreement elusive, immigration reform remains stalled in Congress. However, the issue is poised to shape the policy debate around the 2024 election.

Source: J. Scott Applewhite

The presidential candidates will likely offer competing visions on border security, legal immigration quotas, and the resolution of the undocumented population’s status.

Saturday Mass Casualty Was a Highlight of an Ongoing Crisis

Saturday’s mass casualty incident at the U.S.-Mexico border in California highlights the human cost of the ongoing crisis.

Source: Mark Abramson

The area’s challenging terrain, lack of infrastructure, and limited access to emergency services pose severe hazards to those crossing the border.