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More than 18% of migrant families who crossed the U.S. southern border and were in Border Patrol custody in the last two to three weeks tested positive for covid-19, revealed a document from federal authorities cited Saturday.
The document, prepared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for presentation to President Joe Biden, also details that 20% of the minors who arrived in the country alone and were in Border Patrol custody in the last two to three weeks tested positive for the virus.
The report does not give precise dates or say how many migrants were tested.
Since late July, DHS began expeditiously deporting immigrant families who do not have a legal basis to remain in the country. These aliens remain in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which conducts covid-19 tests before removing them; those who test positive are placed in quarantine before being returned to their home countries.
At a press conference on Friday, the head of the Border Patrol’s operations directorate, Manuel Padilla, indicated that the accelerated deportation flights began on July 30 and as of yesterday there had been three to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Authorities did not specify how many of the migrants awaiting expedited deportation are infected with the virus.
The document also recommends that DHS provide more medical personnel at border processing facilities, especially those located in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, an area that is again overwhelmed with the arrival of immigrants.
The data revealed comes amid a series of criticisms from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who claims that the arrival of undocumented immigrants is contributing to the increase in coronavirus infections at the southern border.