The Border Patrol has released into Texas more than 100 migrants who tested positive for COVID-19 under new directives signed by President Joe Biden, as more migrants gather in Mexico demanding entry.
Felipe Romero, a spokesman for the city of Brownsville, told Fox News that the 108 migrants who tested positive are about 6.3 percent of the total number of migrants rapidly tested at the city’s primary bus station ahead of being released by the Border Patrol.
Romero told the network that the city doesn’t have the power to prevent migrants who test positive from traveling elsewhere in the United States. Rather, Brownsville health officials are instructing the migrants to self-quarantine, socially distance, and follow other guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, White House sources told Fox News Wednesday they know of instances involving individuals who are still traveling about the country even though they have tested positive for the virus and have been instructed to quarantine. Still, the Biden administration hasn’t changed its so-called ‘catch and release’ policy, which is a reversal of Trump-era enforcement priorities and the former president’s “Return to Mexico” program.
“The city of Brownsville also told Noticias Telemundo Investiga that it is advising migrants who test positive to go to NGOs and nonprofits in the area for help with finding shelter and places they can isolate themselves from others. The local county-wide positivity rate is estimated to be 13.8 percent,” Fox News added.
Meanwhile, more migrants have been making the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks since Biden signed a series of executive orders that critics say have contributed to a new crisis.
A group of migrants was seen wearing t-shirts at the San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California, echoing the message on a sign one of them holding: “Biden, please let us in!”
Migrants wishing to enter the U.S. are hopeful that the Biden White House will be more lenient in terms of border enforcement, Fox News reported separately. That would include being able to enter under claims of asylum, which were dramatically curbed during the Trump administration.
Recent surges have driving illegal immigration rates up past levels that were considered ‘crisis’ in the past, even during the Obama administration. But the current White House has refrained from using the term.
On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pushed back on use of the term, saying instead that the administration was dealing with a “challenge” at the southwest border that authorities are “managing.”
He also issued an advisory to migrants considering making the trip.
“A message to those individuals who are thinking of coming to our border: They need to wait,” he said, echoing an earlier statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a virtual border tour earlier this month.
“It takes time to rebuild the system from scratch. If they come, if families come, if single adults come, we are obligated to … return them” under the Trump Administration’s Title 42 rule, Mayorkas said.
“We are not saying don’t come,” he continued. “We are saying don’t come now.”