Nurse activists demanding accountability at the border

The Radical Nurses blog was included in the article titled, “This must end now: Nurses Mobilize to protest conditions at the border,” by The piece outlines how nursing organizations and individual nurses have forcefully condemned family separations, overcrowding, and mistreatment at the border. The article identifies National Nurses United and the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association, as early advocates working to illuminate the injustices occurring at the border. As well as identifying the less robust response from the American Nurses Association who unfortunately continues to be cautious about condemning  immigration laws, but agrees that health and welfare of refugees and asylum seekers is at risk due to current Customs and Border Patrol practices.

Individual nursing blogs were identified as taking an early and active stance against detentions, including: Radical Nurses, The Relentless School Nurse, and Medical Margins. The work of individual nurses at the border, such as Peg Bowden, Beverly Lyne, and Patricia J. Kelly, were identified as experts on the ground, living and volunteering in a medical capacity along the border. We were honored to be included in this piece alongside many inspiring nurse activists.

Radical Nurses will continue to reinforce our responsibility to protect and fight for social justice. Nurses, it is time to advance and define the nursing profession’s ethical imperatives and use our collective voice to advocate for change to the treatment and care of refugees and asylum seekers being detained by the U.S. Government. 

Photo: Overcrowding at Border Patrol station in Weslaco, TX (DHS Office of Inspector General report)

– Vanessa Shields-Haas is a sexual assault nurse examiner and nurse practitioner student at Frontier Nursing University. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. All opinions are her own.

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