According to a report published by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security on September 14, U.S. Customs and Border Protection "does not conduct COVID-19 testing for migrants who enter CBP custody and is not required to do so. Instead, CBP relies on local public health systems to test symptomatic individuals."
According to the Inspector General, "DHS' [sic] multi-layered COVID-19 testing framework does not require CBP to conduct COVID-19 testing at CBP facilities. Further, DHS' Chief Medical Officer does not have the authority to direct or enforce COVID-19 testing procedures." The report states that only Secretary Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of DHS, and CBP leadership can mandate COVID-19 prevention measures.
Additionally, the Inspector General found that in just one month, March-April of this year, 157 CBP employees tested positive for COVID-19 in just nine border sectors. The report concludes:
DHS leadership must commit to strengthening the preventative measures, "like testing, isolation and contact tracing of [refugees, immigrants, and migrants]. If it doesn't, DHS is putting its workforce, support staff, communities, and migrants at greater risk for contracting the virus.
DHS concurred with both recommendations in its official response. "Although resource constraints may present a complex and challenging operating environment, [DHS] will continue to implement improvement actions based on active monitoring and impact analysis of mitigation efforts." The Department pledged to be complete these measures by September 2022.
A perfect example of this worrying foresight expressed by the DHS IG: In late July, the city of Laredo, Texas sued the Biden Administration to prevent DHS from bussing migrants to the border town, sticking its taxpayers with the bill, after city officials learned that 40% of the migrants tested positive for COVID-19.
Democratic Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz told MyRGV.com: "The reason why we don't do testing is that once you test, there's an obligation. If they're positive, we're told that you have to quarantine. We don't have the infrastructure for that."
According to the mayor, the situation got so bad in Laredo that the city was forced to shut down after the flood of migrants created a COVID-19 outbreak. However, shortly after Laredo filed suit, DHS caved to the town and began rerouting the migrants to Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio - shifting the cost and additional health risk to their taxpayers instead.
Laredo Mayor Saenz concluded in the interview:
Border Patrol was very clear that they were just going to put them out in the street, in our plazas. And of course, we couldn't have that. I know some people may say, 'You're basically transporting untested people to other cities.' And the answer is, 'Yes.' But what alternative do we have here, locally?
Around that time, another Texas Democrat, Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas-28) urged President Biden to 'pause' on accepting and releasing thousands and thousands of migrants likely spreading COVID-19 - the Biden Administration has refused to respond to the Texas Democrat.
For the complete story, please visit Just the News.
Updated: Wed, Sep 15th 2021 @ 11:28am EDT