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Republicans say migrant surge 'a guaranteed super spreader event'

By Stephen Dinan

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Washington, March 8, 2021 | comments

A group of Republicans on Monday demanded that Homeland Security begin to test illegal immigrants caught jumping the U.S.-Mexico border for the coronavirus or, better yet, be prevented from entering in the first place.

Led by Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican, nearly two dozen GOP lawmakers said the illegal immigrants are being crowded into processing facilities, making it “a guaranteed super spreader event.”

“At the very least, all individuals encountered along our southern border must be tested for coronavirus and provided with personal protective equipment,” the Republicans wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Biden administration has said it is testing some migrants and blocking others — but acknowledges still another population of migrants, chiefly parents and children traveling together, that it is catching and releasing directly into border communities, without testing.

The White House says it’s trusting local officials to test for COVID-19.

Some of those communities are in fact testing and have reported COVID positive rates as high as 25%. 

Other communities say they don’t have the capacity to test and have begged the federal government for help. Those pleas have gone unanswered so far.

Even when testing does occur, and even when someone tests positive, local officials say the migrants are getting on buses with the rest of the public anyway, heading deeper into the U.S.

In Gila Bend, Arizona, Mayor Tommy Chris Riggs said in a Facebook message to town residents that Homeland Security will soon begin dropping off migrants at a Texaco because that’s where Greyhound bus tickets can be bought.

The drops could be anywhere from 10 to “well over 1,000” people, Mr. Riggs said.

“Gila Bend is simply not equipped to handle this type of influx,” he said.


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