Title 42, an immigration policy instituted by the U.S. government and Center of Disease Control and Prevention in 2020, is set to end on May 11. The pandemic-era policy was put in place to “stop the introduction of communicable diseases,” amid mass U.S. border crossings during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for the U.S. to send back immigrants that had illegally crossed without having to hold them for asylum. With the end of said policy likely to cause a large influx of immigrants from the southern border, 1,500 active-duty soldiers are set to be deployed, with more resources on the way. According to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, “the corresponding returns to Mexico for those without a legal basis to remain will continue,” but with some 10,000 bodies anticipated to cross the border seeking asylum, an overall immigration spike is still to be expected.
As a result of this influx, government facilities such as Centralized Processing Centers, Emergency Intake Sites, Influx Care Facilities, Licensed Shelters, and more will likely fill with migrants, especially unaccompanied children, creating a high demand for healthcare services and providers at those locations. The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services oversee these centers, and they are staffed by various volunteers, government employees, and medical personnel.
Wellhart is committed to the call for help in times of crisis. In 2021, FEMA erected an Emergency Intake Site in Pomona, CA, and Wellhart was given 72 hours to deploy 120 healthcare providers on the ground. Wellhart successfully delivered the nurse practitioners and physicians needed to provide 24-7 coverage, treating thousands of unaccompanied children who had crossed the U.S. southern border.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Dr. Patience Akhimien was present for the Pomona project for her first assignment with Wellhart, and worked to aid migrant children that came through the facility. “They were unaccompanied, they didn’t have their parents with them. And so, and we saw, most of them have a PTSD flashback of the trauma they passed through during the process… and we are their first point of contact,” she said.
According to Akhimien the traffic and responsibilities at the facility were immense, but, “it’s part of the care,” she said. “I have been a nurse for about 30 years, and patient care is my passion.”
Wellhart shares this passion, and in the case more displacement occurs as a result of Title 42 expiring, we will be ready to assist again.