The administration is preserving the nation’s border and border agents by using a healthcare law to help deport 80 percent of migrants within two hours of arriving at the southern border, officials say.
Congress’ Title 42 law gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the authority to order border agents to quickly deport migrants before they can spread China’s coronavirus to border agents, migrants, and other people in the United States, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Breitbart News.
The fast-track deportation rules are needed to prevent migrants from spreading the epidemic throughout detention centers along the border, he said. “If you’re going into Border Patrol custody, you’re going into small confined spaces with a lot of people and Border Patrol agents,” he said, adding:
If you’re coughing, if you have a contagious disease, you’re going to get other people sick around you. Those people then get more people sick, they get Border Patrol agents sick, and you have to potentially shut down the entire Border Patrol station.
Then maybe you are finding entire sectors where hundreds — if not thousands — of Border Patrol agents are calling sick. They can’t go to work. Now we have a danger of drug smuggling [and more migration] … That’s the concern and that’s exactly what the CDC addresses in the order.
The Title 42 law is being combined with the variety of asylum reforms, court reforms, diplomatic agreements, plus the expanding border wall that have been created by President Donald Trump to prevent migrants from even reaching the border detention centers.
A May 18 statement from Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said:
CBP facilities are not equipped to safely process aliens attempting to enter our country illegally during this unprecedented global health crisis. Under President Trump’s leadership, this administration took decisive action to allow DHS to prevent the illegal entry of aliens at our northern and southern borders. This order continues to keep the American people safe, as well as protect our officers and those in their care and custody. It has been one of the most critical tools the administration has used to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and continue to protect the American people.
This set of defenses allows border agents to detain and process just 100 migrants each day in the border facilities, down from 20,000 per day in early 2019, said a senior official in the Customs and Border Protection agency.
“Real quick math tells me that 99.5 percent decrease in terms of numbers in custody is a huge success story,” he added.
Initially, DHS officials expected the Title 42 law would prompt lawsuits by pro-migration groups, such as the ACLU or the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
“We were expecting to get sued,” said the senior DHS official, adding:
We’re kind of surprised that we haven’t gotten sued. Here’s why I think we haven’t got sued: Who wants to be the judge who unleashes … 20,000 or more coronavirus infected folks into the United States? We all know that some of these judges are kind of liberal and are willing to be open-borders. But this is another thing entirely. I just think we haven’t gotten sued because nobody wants to do it.
The importance of Title 42 was demonstrated by the arrest of one group of four illegal migrants, said the senior CBP official:
Just to give you an example of one person that we apprehended back in April [when] patrol agents encountered a group of four that had illegally crossed the border near Calexico into California.
It was three Mexican nationals and one Indian national. All four of them crossed the border illegally. The Mexican nationals were expelled under Title 42, and the Indian national was taken to the border patrol facility for processing.
He received an initial medical interview outside of the facility. And it was determined that he was exhibiting [coronavirus] symptoms. He was transported to another facility where he was isolated … they came outside to the parking lot to give him a swab test. Two days later, it came back positive.
[To get to Calexico] the Indian national had traveled throughout the Western Hemisphere, from his home country to Brazil. He actually went to Ethiopia, and then to Brazil, Lima in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico — two different locations in Mexico — before he came to the United States. We know that he was with 10 other Indian nationals at the same time down in Central America. And as I mentioned, he was apprehended with the Mexican nationals that were returned to Mexico.
Had he been apprehended in circumstances as they applied a year ago, both with the volume and the procedures for taking that individual and putting him into [a detention] setting, in very close quarters with lots of other aliens, particularly for a long period of time at the peak of the crisis. It’s unthinkable [the impact] that single individual could have had. In fact, we know from other Covid scenarios that one person in one location can be responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of cases. So it’s hard to overestimate the difference between taking in that individual … compared to what it would have been a year ago.
The administration is expected to announce an expanded version of the Title 42 process in the near future.
Health experts urge Trump to welcome foreign migrants w/ coronavirus. Migrants have a right to seek asylum & can be trusted to self-quarantine after they’re released to their families, say the experts.But poor migrants want to work, not to self-isolate.https://t.co/JPx23EMCqP
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) May 19, 2020