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The Health Care Challenges Faced by Asylum-Seeking Refugees in the United States

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Ethan Sulliva
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The Health Care Challenges Faced by Asylum-Seeking Refugees in the United States

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Understanding the Complexity of Refugees' Health Care Challenges

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Frontline workers bear witness to the multifaceted trauma and complex health care challenges that refugees face in their journey to seek asylum in the United States. These challenges aren't merely physical or psychological, but are also significantly influenced by the harsh conditions and dangers encountered throughout their migration journey.

According to a New England Journal of Medicine article, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach when providing care to this vulnerable population. This approach encompasses the full range of services available to refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border and addresses the substantial trauma experienced by them.

Barriers to Health Care and the Impact on Refugees

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A video discussion on the health challenges faced by refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. highlights the lack of access to health care, mental health issues, and the trauma experienced by these individuals. The impact of these challenges on the overall well-being of refugees is substantial and emphasizes the urgent need for better support and resources.

The health risks involved in crossing the border, coupled with the dangers and traumas faced during the migration journey, further compound these challenges. In El Paso, Texas, which sees an overwhelming number of migrants entering the city, frontline health workers struggle to meet the demand for care. Despite these struggles, organizations like Doctors of the World have partnered with local institutions like Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to establish primary care centers for migrants.

COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out and Migrant Health

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The Journal of Migration and Health provides critical analyses of the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to migrants. The pandemic has added another layer of complexity to the health care challenges faced by refugees, necessitating a comprehensive and inclusive vaccination strategy for this population.

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and the Future of Refugee Health Care

With a history of accepting refugees dating back to 1980, the United States has welcomed over three million refugees through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). However, the annual number of admissions has seen a decline, largely due to national security concerns and changes in presidential administrations. Despite this, President Joe Biden has pledged to rebuild the U.S. refugee program, including the creation of a new Welcome Corps initiative that would allow U.S. citizens to privately sponsor refugees, as discussed in an article on the Council on Foreign Relations website.

The future of health care for refugees in the United States will undoubtedly be shaped by these policy changes, as well as the ongoing efforts of frontline healthcare workers and organizations dedicated to supporting this vulnerable population.

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