U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told Breitbart Texas that nearly all migrants apprehended after illegally crossing the border between ports of entry are being returned to the country from which they crossed. This order from the Trump Administration includes most Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and Family Unit Aliens (FMUA).
“To help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our border facilities and into our country, individuals encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border are no longer being held in congregate areas for processing and instead, to the maximum extent feasible, are being immediately returned to their country of last transit, a CBP spokesman said in a written statement (emphasis added by CBP). “Additionally, all persons currently in CBP custody who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 travel history and enhanced screening guidelines are being referred to the CDC for additional health screening. CBP takes all necessary precautions to ensure that no communicable diseases are spread across populations in custody.”
Officials said that migrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents who cross the Mexican or Canadian border between ports of entry are medically screened and if they meet CDC guidelines are taken to local testing facilities for a COVID-19 test. Once medically cleared, the agents conduct a biometric background and criminal history check and then returned those cleared to the country from which they entered the U.S.
The spokesman said the return policy includes unaccompanied minors who illegally cross the border between ports of entry.
“All aliens CBP encounters may be subject to the CDC’s Order Suspending Introduction Of Persons From A Country Where A Communicable Disease Exists (March 20, 2020), including minors,” the CBP spokesman continued. “When minors are encountered without adult family members, CBP works closely with their home countries to transfer them to the custody of government officials and reunite them with their families quickly and safely, if possible. CBP also may, on a case-by-case basis, such as when return to the home country is not possible or an agent suspects trafficking or sees signs of illness, except any alien from the CDC order.”
The spokesman explained that any UACs who are excepted from the CDC order will be processed and turned over to Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement officials for processing.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza, in his role as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Breitbart Texas that agents are seeing a decrease in the number of migrants illegally crossing the border from Mexico in the weeks following the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak in North America.
“At first, we saw an increase in crossings,” Garza stated. “That turned and now we are seeing much lower numbers of people crossing the border illegally.”
Garza said most of those apprehended now are Mexican nationals but they still see OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) in South Texas.
CBP officials said unofficially that they expect the March Southwest Border Migration Report to show a significant decline in the apprehension of illegal aliens who are crossing between ports of entry. That report is due out next week and is expected to be released on time, officials stated.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face