Constant fear and uncertainty
People migrating to the US come from diverse backgrounds. While they are all vulnerable on their journey, the impact of migration is most profound on children, unaccompanied minors, pregnant people, older people, LGBTQI+ people, indigenous and non-Spanish-speaking people, extracontinental migrants, and survivors of sexual violence.
“Usually, the violence most people have experienced is at their place of origin,” said Dr. Reinaldo Ortuno, MSF medical coordinator in Mexico and Central America. “However, it persists along the route, and generates serious implications on their mental health. In addition, the uncertainty of their situation and family separation, among other factors, influence the development of emotional responses such as anxiety, stress, excessive fear, constant worry and, in severe cases, psychological disorders.”
Barbara left Venezuela with her husband and six-year-old son and took a dangerous path across the border between Nicaragua and Honduras to avoid border control officials. At an MSF mobile clinic in Danlí, eastern Honduras, she waited for her husband to be treated for the flu, which he picked up over the last days of the trip. Her son takes advantage of the space to socialize with other children who are also on their way north.
“We want to get to the US to work and to be able to pay for the lung surgery my little boy needs to improve his health,” said Barbara. “I don't understand why they make it so difficult for us. All we are looking for is a better life.”