Americans say the government should provide flu vaccines for detained migrants

Jamie BallardData Journalist
September 05, 2019, 5:00 PM GMT+0

The United States continues to hold adults and children in migrant detention centers on the US-Mexico border, and questions remain about what supplies and opportunities the government should provide for migrants.

Earlier this year, a Justice Department lawyer argued that the federal government was not necessarily obligated to provide soap and toothbrushes for migrant children. A federal appeals court panel later ruled that the US was in fact required to provide these items to ensure “safe and sanitary” conditions.

Most Americans believe the federal government should provide other items to detained migrants as well.

Most recently, a lawsuit alleged that young women in migrant detention centers weren’t being provided with adequate menstrual products. “Although the guards knew they had their periods, they were not offered showers or a change of clothes, even when the other girl visibly bled through her pants,” according to court documents. “This girl had no choice but to continue to wear her soiled underwear and pants.”

Recent YouGov data indicates almost eight in 10 (78%) Americans believe menstrual products like pads and tampons should be provided free of charge to girls and women in migrant detention centers. Majorities of Democrats (90%), independents (78%) and Republicans (65%) support this idea.

There have also been recent discussions around whether the federal government should provide flu vaccines for migrants in detention centers.

US Customs and Border Patrol reported last month that they would not be providing flu vaccines to migrants in their custody. Public health experts and others criticized the decision, noting that three children in migrant detention centers have died from flu-related ailments within the past year.

Roughly half (51%) of Americans believe all detained migrants should receive the flu vaccine. Nearly a quarter (23%) say that only those who are at risk of flu-related complications (such as children) should get this vaccine. Another 11 percent believe that no migrants in custody should get a flu vaccine.

In addition to health concerns, questions have been raised about whether migrant children should have access to educational and recreational opportunities. In June, the Trump administration announced that it would be canceling English classes, recreational programs and legal aid for minors in migrant detention centers.

A recent YouGov poll finds roughly two-thirds (67%) of Americans think the government should provide English classes for unaccompanied minors in federal migrant shelters. Majorities of Democrats (80%), independents (62%) and Republicans (62%) agree.

What items do you believe the federal government should provide to people in migrant detention centers? Sign up for our panel and tell us what you think.

Image: Getty