Health & Medicine

California nurses head to Arizona shelter to treat asylum seekers, immigrants

Registered Nurse Response Network, a unit of the national nurses union that works on disaster-relief projects, is sending a team of registered nurses from California, Florida and Texas to travel to Arizona, where the volunteers will provide basic medical support to migrants and asylum seekers.
Registered Nurse Response Network, a unit of the national nurses union that works on disaster-relief projects, is sending a team of registered nurses from California, Florida and Texas to travel to Arizona, where the volunteers will provide basic medical support to migrants and asylum seekers. Registered Nurse Response Network

Moved by the deaths of immigrants at the nation’s southern border, registered nurses from California, Florida and Texas volunteered to travel to Arizona to provide basic medical support to migrants and asylum seekers Friday through Sunday.

“It is really important to me that immigrants are well cared for when they come here and that their health care needs are met,” said Sandy Reding, a Bakersfield RN and a member of the California Nurses Association board of directors, in a news release.

“We have to recognize...the crisis on the border is a humanitarian one, not one that can be fixed with a wall, but rather one that must be addressed by treating migrants and asylum seekers with compassion.”

Reding, who is also vice president of National Nurses United, is part of a team being sent by Registered Nurse Response Network, a unit of the national nurses union that works on disaster-relief projects, according to the release. This is not Reding’s first trip with RNRN. She also volunteered in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in Texas after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the release said.

She and other leaders of National Nurses United condemned Trump administration policies after an 8-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl died in U.S. custody after crossing the border in December, the news release said. The union leaders say they want humanitarian assistance for those making long and arduous journeys to seek asylum from violence in their home countries.

The RNRN volunteers will be working at a shelter in Tucson run by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, an agency that has provided care for more than 2,000 migrants since October 2018, according to the release.

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Cathie Anderson covers health care for The Bee. Growing up, her blue-collar parents paid out of pocket for care. She joined The Bee in 2002, with roles including business columnist and features editor. She previously worked at papers including the Dallas Morning News, Detroit News and Austin American-Statesman.
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