Humanitarian Crisis: The Migrant Struggle in the Heart of El Paso, Texas - Doctors of the World

Humanitarian Crisis: The Migrant Struggle in the Heart of El Paso, Texas


For many years, El Paso, Texas, has been at the heart of a pressing and growing humanitarian challenge: the migration crisis at the southern US border with Mexico. Situated on the border with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, this vibrant city has become a focal point for migrants seeking refuge and opportunity. However, the surge in migration has strained resources, ignited debates, and prompted urgent calls for action.

Since Title 42 and further COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the number of people crossing the border has risen exponentially. In 2023, an estimated 2.5 million crossed the southern border. Meanwhile in 2021, the U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants.

The United States has the capacity to deal with this surge but is restricted by outdated,politicized and harmful immigration policy. The current legal entry process is chronically under-funded and overwhelmed, with asylum courts completely backlogged, grinding applications nearly to a halt. For many, remaining in Mexico along the border is as risky as their journey. Juárez and other Mexican border towns are known to be extremely dangerous  for migrants, with reports of abuse, kidnapping and exploitation growing every year. 

Unfortunately, the response to the crisis is focused less on solving the underlying issues and providing aid. For example, the State of Texas implemented Operation Lone Star, a program that focuses on deterring migrants from crossing by using razor wire submerged in the Rio Grande river, and through increasing patrols. According to Human Rights Watch, this operation has led to an increased rate of nearly 3 deaths and 7 injuries per month since it was implemented.

Doctors and healthcare professionals across the border region are reporting higher rates of injuries amongst the migrant population. Operation Lone Star as well as new border walls which reach a height of 30 feet have led to more serious and costly injuries. El Paso University Medical Center has reported that 9 patients have died from falls last year, while 326 people sustained serious injuries, mostly lower-extremity trauma. 

At Doctors of the World’s border health clinics, we have already treated multiple patients with similar injuries. We also see many other types of injuries and illness that migrants have faced throughout their journey to the United States. Regardless of where they are coming from or what their needs are, whether it’s primary care or mental health support, Doctors of the World continues to provide the care they need. 

See below the story of Noor and her husband who were treated at our clinic in El Paso, Texas.