A Perpetual Crisis: Reflections on Renewed Public Health Failures at the U.S.-Mexico Border

May 13, 2021

In March 2021, a record number of children arrived at the U.S./Mexico border, challenging capacity at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and placing newfound pressure on the Biden Administration to act promptly. However, this humanitarian crisis is not new. For decades, the U.S. has failed to improve a system ill-equipped to handle the needs of vulnerable refugees and migrants. As children await in overcrowded jail-like centers and COVID-19 remains an imminent threat to the health of migrants, concerns about who will continue to suffer at the border, and for how long, require urgent consideration.

On May 13th, 2021, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights hosted an intimate discussion on this pressing issue. This conversation built off of our three previous events and report that examined the public health crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. Given the historical patterns of inaction from the U.S. and Mexico governments as well as the evolving humanitarian crisis, expert panelists critically evaluated current challenges and addressed necessary steps for establishing humane border policies.