Nurses assess concerns at immigration detention center


Just about everyone has heard about the recent deaths of immigrants and asylum seekers being held in U.S. facilities. But did you know that 22 immigrants have died in these centers in the past 2 years? In fact, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General has issued three reports describing poor treatment and lax oversight.

Knowing this, it’s no surprise that a team of nurses from the RN Response Network recently traveled from California to El Paso, Texas, to see for themselves what the conditions are and assess whether additional help and support are needed.

In June 2018, former American Nurses Association president Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, directly addressed the immigration situation at the border: “The American Nurses Association (ANA) is troubled by the Administration’s policy of actively separating children from their families as they seek to enter the United States without documentation. The Code of Ethics for Nurses sets the expectation that we must always preserve the human rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, women, and refugees. ANA urges everyone involved to protect the mental and physical health of these children who face an uncertain future without their families.”

This call to action, one of several made by healthcare leaders, has led many professionals to speak out and take steps to get involved. The work being done by groups like the RN Response Network is a testament to nurse advocacy and influence.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. This has not been peer reviewed.


  • As a nurse I support families stay together if possible. If they can prove true status and come through legally. However these detention centers were built years ago and the separation was related to child protection at that time. Now with such large numbers coming. Nurses should know that the numbers are hard to care for. They should be turned back after they fill out some paperwork to place them in line. Illegal immigration is not a right. Our country is on the brink and this issue cannot be solved by opening borders. Reform is needed and maybe some way to speed it up could be found. However vetting is important for safety and security.

  • so what did they find? what was the outcome of the assessment?

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