A group of 23 House Republicans has sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers on how many border crossers are testing positive for the Chinese coronavirus and subsequently being released into the United States interior.
The letter, led by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), calls out President Joe Biden’s policies at the U.S.-Mexico border where thousands of border crossers and migrants are being released into the nation’s interior.
Only those enrolled in the Remain in Mexico program are tested for the coronavirus, while others are released, sometimes tested by local communities, and sent on their way regardless of their test results.
“There are reports that at least 100 migrants who tested positive for coronavirus have been released into the United States,” the letter states.
Reports last week confirmed that more than 100 border crossers released into the U.S. interior had tested positive for the coronavirus. Even after their positive result, the border crossers were free to continue traveling into the U.S.
The House Republicans said the restart of the Catch and Release program, in the midst of the pandemic, is “a guaranteed super spreader event.” They write:
Historical precedent indicates illegal border crossings may increase to over 100,000 per month this spring. Due to the continued need for social distancing, [DHS] facilities will quickly reach capacity. Even with efforts to social distance, reporting states that migrants are already being held in crowded spaces while being processed. [Emphasis added]
Coupled with the lack of coronavirus testing along the southern border, this is a guaranteed super spreader event. At the very least, all individuals encountered along our southern border must be tested for coronavirus and provided with personal protective equipment. [Emphasis added]
Among the questions asked of Mayorkas, the House Republicans want to know why border crossers are not being turned away under the Center for Disease Control’s Title 42 order that has helped stem the flow of illegal immigration to the U.S. by allowing federal officials to quickly return border crossers back to their native countries.
The lawmakers also want to know how many border crossers are being released into the U.S. interior and why, as well as how many border crossers are being released and eventually test positive for the coronavirus.
The signatories to the letter include:
- Michael Burgess (R-TX)
- Brian Babin (R-TX)
- Chip Roy (R-TX)
- Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
- Lance Gooden (R-TX)
- Ann Wagner (R-MO)
- Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
- Bill Posey (R-FL)
- Yvette Herrell (R-NM)
- Troy Nehls (R-TX)
- Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
- Randy Weber (R-TX)
- Scott Perry (R-PA)
- Neal Dunn (R-FL)
- Jodey Arrington (R-TX)
- Ronny Jackson (R-TX)
- Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
- Michael Cloud (R-TX)
- Ben Cline (R-VA)
- Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
- Glenn Grothman (R-WI)
- Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
- Greg Murphy (R-NC)
The full letter can be read here:
Days ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced he was deploying the state’s National Guard and troops to high-risk areas of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans,” Abbott wrote in a statement.
Title 42, cited in the lawmakers’ letter, has successfully expelled nearly 460,000 border crossers from the U.S. since March 2020. In the last four months, alone, between 62,000 to 65,000 border crossers have been expelled and deported monthly under Title 42.
Thanks to Biden’s ending the Remain in Mexico program and canceling a number of cooperative asylum agreements, federal officials released more than 800 border crossers into the U.S. in the first four days of this month, Breitbart News reported. Since February 19, DHS has released more than 1,100 Remain in Mexico migrants into the U.S.
Biden’s Catch and Release policy has proven unpopular with Americans. In a poll conducted last month of nearly 1,800 voters, 67 percent said border crossers should be returned to Mexico — as they were under the Remain in Mexico program — while just 33 percent said they should be released into the U.S. interior.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.