Jan 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

The Challenges Facing Human Service Workers in US-Mexico Border Towns

Apr 03, 2015 09:59 AM EDT


The United States is known as the "land of opportunity".  As a result, immigrants find ways to illegally enter the United States.  Although entering the United States from a foreign country overseas can be especially difficult, crossing the Mexico-U.S. border is sometimes easier, but the challenges are very significant in the United States-Mexico border towns. The conditions that human services workers in the United States-Mexico border towns have to endure such as HIV, inadequate water, crime and sex trafficking is significant

The United States-Mexico border is a 1,951 mile long border that is considered one of the busiest country borders in the entire world.  Since the implementation of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was passed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the number of commercial vehicles crossing the border has substantially increased by more than 40 percent; and two-way trade has almost tripled.  Every year the United States-Mexico border allows approximately 300 million people, 90 million automobiles, and more than 4 million trucks to cross the border . It is estimated that cross-border trade averages more than $650 million dollars a day, two-thirds of which comes through ports of entry in Texas.

In an attempt to deal with many of the issues related to the influx of illegal aliens crossing the United States-Mexico borders, many human service workers have been employed, from many health and human services agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, The United States Mexico Border Health Commission, Center for Disease Control, etc.  The jobs of these human services workers are difficult and are often associated with many adversities such as illness, infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, rubella, lack of water, high heat, violence and warring groups trying to control the flow of cash, goods and illegal immigrants across the border. It is a very challenging, but rewarding occupation that requires continual communication with the health services agencies as well as law enforcement from both Mexico and the United States.

As so many illegal activities are taking place in the United States-Mexico border towns, the human services worker almost has to think well into the future to really make an impact as the paradigms are continually changing in these communities. New ways to divert cash flow and goods cause criminal rings to surface and change continually. The human services worker has to be very well equipped in their skills and knowledge and they must stay abreast of the continually changing situation in the United States-Mexico border towns.

The job of the human services workers in the United States-Mexico border towns is especially difficult and demanding. They often face an array of issues when dealing with immigrants like drug addiction, violence, poor living conditions, uninsured and fearful patients, who are often afraid to speak out, and a wide variety of infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, rubella, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc. There also many insects and diseases spread by livestock in these regions.  Therefore, there should be special consideration for human services workers in the United States-Mexico border towns in order to protect, educate and sustain human services workers, and also to ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals they serve, educate and protect as the immigrants move toward creating stable lives in the United States.  

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