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Border & Immigration

‘We Don’t Know How We’re Going To Survive’ — Many Mexican Nationals Can No Longer Cross The Border To Sell Their Blood Plasma

Eagle Pass Plasma Donation
Maria Mendez
/
Texas Public Radio
One of Eagle Pass' Plasma Donation Centers

Non-immigrant travel or business visa holders are now barred from entering the United States to give blood plasma for money, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement. This does not affect those seeking medical treatment in the U.S. or donors who don’t receive anything in exchange for their donation.

In a statement, the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association said they disagree with the policy because it’s harmful and risks the lives of thousands of Americans that rely on blood plasma for treatments of their medical conditions.

“Blood Plasma is essential, it makes medicines and vaccinations that could be saving CBP’s family or someone they know,” said Daniella Dusci who works at BPL in Laredo, a blood plasma donation center.

Dusci said that the facility where she works saw only about thirty percent of their normal donor volume the day after the announcement. Mexican nationals with non-immigrant visas are a significant portion of blood plasma donors and tend to donate regularly. According to Dusci, approximately ninety percent of BPL Laredo’s donors come from Mexico.

Many Mexican nationals rely on money from blood plasma donations as a secondary source of income. Gerardo Rivera is a Mexican non-immigrant visa holder and regular donor. He said that after the pandemic many people in his community who lost their jobs started relying more on the income from blood plasma donations for their livelihood.

“A lot of us were already unemployed and trying to make ends meet,” said Rivera. “Now they say we can’t donate and we don’t know how we’re going to survive.”

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