Expert Voices

The dangers of disease in migrant children detention centers

boys in tent camp shelter
Children and workers at a tent encampment in Tornillo, Texas. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The detention of thousands of migrant children in U.S. government facilities — 2,047 according to an HHS estimate this Tuesday, though as many as 5,000 in Texas alone per another report — has the potential to result in widespread illnesses.

Why it matters: While there is no exact precedent for the current situation along the U.S.–Mexico border, large-scale detention of individuals, especially children, under conditions of crowding and emotional stress has historically been linked with infectious disease outbreaks.