The Department of Homeland Security says that hundreds of Chinese nationals have attempted to illegally enter the United States through the southern border since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.
“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported. “Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”
The coronavirus, which originated in China in December, has infected more than 91,000 people worldwide and killed well over 3,100 people – with most of the infections and deaths occurring in China.
Border Patrol agents told the Times that in addition to the 1,000 illegal aliens who are caught every day entering the United States through the southern border with Mexico, which is also dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus, a significant number of illegal aliens are managing to sneak into the country undetected.
“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”
Senior administration officials told The Washington Examiner that President Donald Trump’s focus on securing the southern border, his immigration policies, and building new border barriers “have gone a long way to keep the virus away, especially at the southern border.”
DHS Secretary Chad Wolf raised concerns this week about how U.S. officials cannot properly vet illegal aliens who enter through the southern border because many of them do not have the proper documentation with them.
“The individuals that are coming in at our 11 airports that are being funneled, we have very good information of their travel history, of their medical history,” Wolf said. “We’re not going to have that same set of fidelity for the individuals if this continues to grow at the southwest border.”
The Examiner noted that Wolf also highlighted how a recent ruling by leftist activist judges to temporarily block the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, puts the country at risk.
“MPP has an uncertain future. We know from experience that the journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions – and they often arrive with no passports, medical histories, or travel manifests,” Wolf said. “The administration will continue to closely monitor the virus globally, as well as in our hemisphere, and will adjust our proactive measures as necessary.”
Another senior administration official told The Examiner, “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border. Any halting of MPP would exacerbate that threat.”
DHS acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told The Examiner that the department’s top objective was protecting the American people, and that Trump’s efforts have gone a long way toward achieving that goal.
“The American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to protect our homeland. While the general risk to the American public remains low, DHS has mobilized a departmentwide response to keep Americans safe, secure, and informed,” Cuccinelli said. “Fortunately, we were able to engage DHS assistance early to prevent the spread of this virus in the U.S. We remain locked arm-in-arm with our interagency partners, HHS and CDC health professionals, and state and local officials acting as one to safeguard the health and safety of the American people.”