A leaked presidential briefing document reported on by NBC News revealed that 20 percent of unaccompanied migrant children who illegally crossed the border are testing positive for COVID-19 after being released into communities by Border Patrol. The report covers the last two to three weeks of data prepared for President Joe Biden, NBC says. A presidential briefing document reported by NBC News also states that 18 percent of migrant families are testing positive for the pandemic virus after they are released by Border Patrol officials into border communities. President Biden is expected to receive the briefing on Thursday. The report also says that the infection rate of migrant families is impacting the Biden administration’s efforts to deport migrant families under recently reenacted expedited removal processes. Some of the ICE deportation flights had a 25 percent COVID-positive rate among the migrant families scheduled for removal, NBC stated. Those families were removed from the flights for quarantine. “Migrants are not tested for Covid in Border Patrol custody unless they show symptoms, but all are tested when they leave Border Patrol custody, according to DHS officials,” NBC reported. “Immigrants who are allowed to stay in the U.S. to claim asylum are given tests when they are transferred to ICE, Health and Human Services or non-governmental organizations.” On Saturday, Breitbart Texas’ Randy Clark reported images from McAllen, Texas, hotels and motels that are serving as shelter overflows for Catholic Charities operations in that region of the Texas border with Mexico. The photos show healthcare workers going room to room to check the health status of migrants recently released from Border Patrol’s custody. “The migrants could be seen being led by health care workers in smocks escorting them into the hotel lobbies and going door to door with clipboards to speak to those staying in the rooms,” Clark observed. NBC states that healthcare support in Border Patrol shelters is nearly non-existent with only three EMTs on hand to take care of 3,000 migrants.
A White House spokesperson issued a statement that reads:
DHS and CBP takes its responsibility to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases very seriously. CBP provides migrants who can’t be expelled…or are awaiting processing with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times, including when they are transferred or in the process of being released. If anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody, they are referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, isolation and treatment. NBC reports that Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 200,000 migrants in July. The official numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection are expected to be released later this week.