The left is contending there is an uptick of new virus cases throughout the U.S. Could this be from the continued entrance of migrants every day? This could be the uptick since they are not tested. Is open borders the cause of the increase in virus cases?
Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers do not test the migrants they apprehend.
According to a CPB spokesperson, “CBP personnel conduct initial inspections for symptoms or risk factors associated with COVID-19 and consult with onsite medical personnel.”
Suspected COVID-19 cases are then referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis and treatment.
Cuellar said migrants dropped off at bus stations by Border Patrol agents are likely not tested before they leave to other cities. There is currently no system in place to keep track of whether migrants get tested for COVID-19 once they leave DHS custody.
“Once the Border Patrol releases them, then they have the notice to appear [at immigration case hearing] and they can go anywhere in the U.S.,” Cuellar said.
Greyhound Lines bus company said in a statement to Newsweek that it sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and requested assistance with a potential surge of migrants at the border.
The border town of Brownsville, Texas, sees a lot of migrants come through its La Plaza Bus Terminal.
Since January 25, there have been 108 migrants who tested positive for COVID-19, which is a 6.3 percent positivity rate, according to Brownsville spokesman Felipe Romero. The positivity rate for Cameron County is 13.8 percent.
Romero confirms that MPP individuals seeking asylum are tested for COVID-19 on the Mexican side of the border in Matamoros and must test negative to be allowed to cross.
He said Brownsville follows all guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Texas Department of State Health Service for COVID-19 and tests other migrants released by federal officials once they arrive in town.
“The catch-and-release migrants are tested at the La Plaza Bus Terminal upon being dropped off by U.S. Customs & Border Protection,” Romero told Newsweek. “The migrants who test positive at La Plaza Bus Terminal are advised of quarantine procedures and are asked to socially distance. There are several NGOs providing resources to those who test positive.”
NGOs, or nongovernmental organizations, and other nonprofit organizations provide testing and locations to quarantine for migrants out of their own pocket.
Cuellar said some towns test migrants for COVID-19, but he is “not seeing border towns broadly testing.”
He added that unaccompanied minors are turned over to Health and Human Services and likely tested, while families with children under age 13 released by CBP with a note to appear in court might be tested by an NGO. Adults and families with older children who are apprehended by CBP are returned across the border under Title 42 and likely not tested.
Some migrants are tested before crossing the border. Those seeking entry through MPP must test negative in order to enter the country.
However, migrants picked up by CPB might not have been tested prior to crossing the border illegally. Since CBP officials will not test migrants, that task is left mostly to NGOs.
There currently is no system in place to track if migrants have been tested after they leave NGO shelters or CBP custody.