Each year, hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive in the United States of America. In 2019 there were 44.9 million immigrants in The US, that is, 14% of the American population was a migrant. Of those million people, 22 million are women, 20.4 million men, and 2.5 million children. Approximately 24% of immigrants were from Mexico.
There are between 10.5 million to 12 million, or approximately 3.2%–3.6% of undocumented immigrants currently living in The US. 45% of undocumented immigrants entered with a visa through a port of entry, such as an airport. In the remaining, about 50% entered illegally, mostly crossing the Southern border.
To cross the border with Mexico, undocumented immigrants usually hire smugglers colloquially called “coyotes.” Coyotes or traffickers use various methods to cross the border, including allying with drug cartels and subjecting migrants to various dangers, such as walking for days in the desert, transporting them in unventilated trucks, or making them walk for days without rest.
Undocumented migrants face multiple dangers along the route, from being mugged or kidnapped by Mexican drug cartels, to being abandoned in the desert by traffickers. Some migrants have been reported that the traffickers have sold their “clients” in human trafficking, have also kidnapped them and blackmailed their relatives to obtain more money, or simply the migrants have disappeared and their relatives are still looking for them.
In 2014, the deaths on the southern border of the country began to be documented. Since then, 5,755 people have died while migrating across Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, according to IOM found. Only in 2021, 650 people died trying to cross the border, most of them because of the heat. In addition to the dangers of death, migrants face human trafficking, mainly women, who suffer from rape, kidnapping, sexual slavery, and violation of their rights.
Also, migrants who have been detained by border patrols, ICE, or Border Protection officers have also reported violations of their rights, sexual abuse while in custody, and all forms of abuse.
Another clear example of the violation of human rights suffered by immigrants was the family separation policy of former President Donald Trump. This policy allowed migrant children to be separated from their parents and placed in custody. This situation led to migrant children in state custody being placed in detention centers where their basic needs were barely met, and extensive investigations brought to light horrific abuses, such as isolated children in cage-like infrastructure sleeping on thin blankets on the floor while crying in fear or asking to see their parents.
These instances of abuse left thousands of children and parents traumatized by being violently separated. Many parents were even unaware of their children’s whereabouts, others were deported while their children remained in custody in The US. The stories of each of the separated children and parents are hard.
In addition to all these situations, migrants who enter the country also face stressors due to the culturalization process. The culture change, being away from their relatives, and facing cultural differences produce an emotional shock that can cause different mental illnesses.
It is all these situations that come together so that many migrants suffer from mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, and very commonly post-traumatic stress disorder.
Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health problem that originates after experiencing a traumatic event that the person interprets as something that put their life or the life of a loved one at risk. This mental disorder involves nightmares, anxiety, recollection of traumatic events, and intense emotional and physical reactions.
Due to all the situations that undocumented migrants face, many migrants have expressed a variety of symptoms that require a mental health professional to evaluate them and receive the appropriate treatment according to their symptoms.
Immigrants deserve that their mental health problems be considered relevant and that they are provided with the necessary care so that they have a better quality of life.
Attorney Farrah Qazi, of Qazi Law Offices, has worked with migrants who have faced violations of their rights and with families that have been separated. She has always worked closely with families and ensured that their rights are respected.
Do you want to know more about the work that lawyer Farrah Qazi does? Call our office, we might be able to help. Call us at 630 504 0648.