After some 328 illegal aliens from China have been caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, concerns were raised as to the possibility of foreign nationals suffering from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) sneaking across the border perhaps unaware they are infectious. The Department of Homeland Security did little to quell those fears admitting that it is a vulnerability, as reported by the Washington Times.
Three other people from South Korea have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected. All told, more than 1,000 illegal immigrants a day are caught attempting to sneak in from Mexico, which detected its first case last week, and since has identified five others. And if that many are being caught each day, an unknown but significant number are getting through undetected, Border Patrol agents say, some agents use a rough calculation of one got-away for every one that’s caught.
“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf raised the issue Tuesday with the House Homeland Security Committee, saying that illegal immigration presents a unique threat compared to legal travelers from China, who are being screened on arrival, adding:
The individuals that are coming in at our 11 airports that are being funneled, we have very good information of their travel history, of their medical history. We’re not going to have that same set of fidelity for the individuals if this continues to grow at the southwest border.
Wolf also said the spread of the virus in Mexico creates new complications after the U.S. has sent tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in that country while their cases are proceeding in American immigration courts. Late last week a federal court issued a ruling that could result in thousands of them being admitted immediately. The ruling was stayed, but Mr. Wolf said it could be a danger spot should the courts demand their entry.
So far none of the confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have been tied to the border.
The U.S. has begun funneling travelers arriving from China into a select set of American airports, where they can be screened. But that’s simply not possible with those crossing the border — particularly those who evade detection altogether.
For the complete story, please visit the Washington Times.
Updated: Wed, Mar 18th 2020 @ 6:25pm EDT