Fox News reports since officials first reported the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in late December and the United States imposed a travel ban for those entering from China, Border Patrol agents have detained 333 Chinese nationals attempting to enter the United States illegally, according to Department of Homeland Security data obtained by Fox News.
While none have tested positive for the virus, the southern border remains a primary focus of the Trump administration, which sees the area as high risk and a gateway for COVID-19 to spread in the U.S.
“We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border, where migrants, law enforcement officials, frontline personnel, and the American public are put at risk,” said a DHS official who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly by the agency.
Under MPP, which stands for the Migrant Protection Protocol, the U.S. has deported some 60,000 migrants to Mexico to await their deportation hearings. Unless the Supreme Court acts, the policy will be ruled illegal in California and Arizona and those individuals and other migrants claiming asylum will be allowed to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
All it would take is a single infected individual to impact the detained migrant community within DHS facilities without proper precautions, which can only happen through orderly, lawful migration, the virus threatens to spread rapidly,” the official said. “Any halting of MPP would exacerbate this threat.”
The U.S. southern border is a microcosm of the world, with foreign nationals from 122 separate countries apprehended or denied entry already this fiscal year — from October through the end of February.
Seventy of those countries currently report confirmed COVID-19 cases, led by China but followed by Italy, Iran, India, Romania, Vietnam and Brazil.
The virus started popping up on health officials’ radar screens in late December in China and has since spread around the world. Some of the countries on the list have had very low rates of the virus, including Mexico.
Meanwhile, the number of cases in the U.S. has risen dramatically in recent days, topping 1,000. China has nearly 81,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Italy has more than 10,000 and Iran has about 8,000.
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