Aliuska Balmaceda and Jhostin Charris are answering a call to duty even though they are both stuck in immigration limbo near the U.S. border in Mexico as it grapples with current health crisis.
Balmacedo, a doctor who fled Cuba more than a year ago, and Charris, a nurse who left Venezuela seeking a better life for his family, are treating more than 20 migrants a day… their make-shift clinic: a temporary shelter in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Up until now, the two were unable to practice medicine because of a lack of documentation, but then Mexico took a hit – like the rest of the world.
BALMACEDO: “I feel very good, very proud to be exercising what I like.
I am very happy to take care of these patients who are migrants just like me.
I identify a lot with them and they identify with me because we are both migrants.
My family and I are very happy to be able to practice my profession again.” Mexico has seen a flood of central American migrants stuck inside its borders after it reached an agreement with the U.S. to hold asylum seekers south of the border while awaiting U.S. immigration court proceedings.
But that has put a strain on humanitarian agencies that house and feed these migrants and it threatens a population where there’s nowhere to isolate if someone gets sick.
Charris is just glad to do what he can to prevent the outbreak from spreading among people like him who can’t afford to lose their health.
“I was nervous.
I didn’t know that the experience was going to be like this, that God I was able to adapt quickly and I was able to make a connection with migrants.
We are migrants and we feel identified.” Health officials hope the clinic can keep the numbers done and prevent an outbreak among those who are trying to make a fresh start.