According to a leaked presidential briefing document, nearly 20% of unaccompanied migrant children who illegally crossed the border test 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.
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.
According to the report, the infection rate of migrant families is also affecting the Biden administration’s efforts to deport migrant families under recently reenacted expedited removal processes. According to NBC, some ICE deportation flights had a 25% COVID-positive rate among the migrant families scheduled for removal. Those families were taken off the planes 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.”
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.