Police in South Texas were surprised to discover that illegal immigrants had been put up in hotels after being released from federal custody — and that these immigrants had possibly tested positive for COVID-19.
Fox News reported that the immigrants had been turned over to a Catholic charity after they were released from federal custody, and the charity booked them hotel rooms. Local authorities, however, weren’t informed.
“The La Joya Police Department said a patrol officer was waved down Monday by someone concerned about a group that appeared to be sick at a Whataburger fast food restaurant. The officer found a family inside who were coughing and sneezing and not adhering to health guidelines, including the wearing of masks, authorities said during a news conference,” Fox reported. “A manager told the officer they wanted the people to leave the establishment because they were making everyone inside ‘uneasy.’ When the officer approached the migrants, they said they had tested positive for the coronavirus and had been apprehended by Border Patrol agents several days prior before being released. “
La Joya police Sgt. Manuel Casas told the outlet that the family didn’t have documentation to prove they had tested positive for COVID-19.
“We did not know this,” Casas told the outlet. “No one told the city of La Joya. No one told the police department that these people were here and no one told us that these people were possibly ill.”
Further, the immigrants told the officer who responded to the Whataburger concerns that they had been booked a room at the Texas Inn & Suites down the road after they had been released from Border Patrol and that the rooms had been booked by the Catholic Charities of The Rio Grande Valley.
“We have an understanding based on what was told to us that the hotel in totality has already been rented out,” Casas told Fox. “The information we have is that everyone that is staying in that hotel is COVID-19 positive because it’s being rented out for them.”
Casas also told the outlet that police can’t keep the immigrants from leaving the hotel and going elsewhere in the U.S.
News of the COVID-19-positive immigrants comes at the same time that whistleblowers said they were told to downplay a COVID-19 outbreak among migrant children at a shelter set up at Fort Bliss in Texas. NBC News reported that two new whistleblowers had come forward to discuss the conditions of children being kept in migrant facilities under the Biden administration. The new whistleblowers said in a complaint: “Covid was widespread among children and eventually spread to many employees. Hundreds of children contracted Covid in the overcrowded conditions. Adequate masks were not consistently provided to children, nor was their use consistently enforced.”
The whistleblowers, Arthur Pearlstein and Lauren Reinhold, added that HHS public affairs officials told them “when asked, to make everything sound positive about the Fort Bliss experience and to play down anything negative.”