Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) said on Monday that President Donald Trump’s administration is “exporting” the coronavirus to countries like Guatemala by deporting illegal immigrants who have the virus back to their countries of origin.
Torres told CBS News that countries like Guatemala “don’t have the number of the test kits available to even understand what has already been brought and exported to their countries.”
“I do believe that the U.S. is exporting the virus,” Torres reportedly said.
According to CBS News, “at least 99 migrants recently deported to Guatemala by the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus as of Sunday, according to the nation’s public health ministry.”
In addition, “deportees from the U.S. make up nearly 20% of the 500 coronavirus cases in Guatemala, which has had 15 pandemic-related deaths.”
Guatemala has reportedly said it will “only permit the resumption of regular deportation flights once the U.S. improves its screening protocols.”
But Anthony Fontes, an American University professor “who is in central Guatemala conducting research on the pandemic’s impact on migration patterns in the region,” said Guatemalans who are being deported through Mexico also pose a threat.
As the Associated Press noted, “the CDC in March announced an order granting Border Patrol agents the authority to immediately return migrants caught illegally crossing the northern and southern borders to the country they last passed through without processing or detaining them at immigration facilities, bypassing normal immigration procedures.”
“Efforts to suppress movement and the spread of the virus just won’t work when you have literally deportees coming through like a leaking ship,” Fontes told CBS News.