Could migrant surge lead to rise in COVID-19 cases? Texas congressman voices concern

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 3:08 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Relief organizations in Laredo, Texas are preparing for a surge of migrants from Mexico.

“Get volunteers, we have clothes ready, showers ready,” said Rebecca Solloa at Catholic Charities of Laredo.

The increased flow of migrants is already happening in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas as President Biden starts to ease former President’s Trump’s immigration policies.

The U.S. government’s Migration Protection Protocols are being phased out. That means hundreds of undocumented migrants forced to wait in Mexico for two years are now being processed and allowed to cross the U.S. border. Listen below to a first-hand account from Andrea Leiner at medical NGO Global Response Management from her experiences at the Matamoros tent camp:

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) is worried these migrants could spread COVID-19 once inside the U.S. He said that would put a strain on medical resources already at a breaking point.

“We’ve been asking for more vaccines, we’re not getting enough, fair share of vaccines on the border. Our hospitals have been at capacity, and they’re releasing people into our streets without even checking them for COVID-19,” said Cuellar.

Cuellar is urging President Biden and immigration officials to listen to community leaders on the ground at the border, not the immigration activists thousands of miles away.

“Are we in a crisis right now? No. Am I worried about us getting to a crisis soon? Yes,” the congressman said.

The Gray Television Washington News Bureau reached out to the Biden administration seeking reaction to Cuellar’s concerns. Officials referred us to comments made by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a March 1 White House briefing.

“A message to those individuals who are thinking of coming to our border—they need to wait. It takes time to rebuild the system from scratch,” said Mayorkas in the briefing.

Mayorkas also addressed Cuellar’s claims that migrants aren’t being tested before they cross the border. He said only those who test negative are permitted entry into the U.S. and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement will quarantine anyone who tests positive for coronavirus.

Copyright 2021 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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