A CDC order suspended ‘the introduction of all individuals without proper documentation.’
More than 88,000 immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally have been turned back since a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) emergency health order in response to the coronavirus crisis that allows for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers to be quickly removed from the U.S.
According to DHS data obtained by Fox News, border officials have prevented more than 88,100 individuals attempting to enter the U.S. illegally as of mid-June, and have been quickly turning them back normally within just a few hours, often without them even entering the country.
The administration announced in March that the CDC had directed DHS to “suspend the introduction of all individuals without proper documentation” into the U.S. from both the northern and southern borders in response to the spread of the deadly virus.
Under those authorities, known as “Title 42,” Border Patrol estimates that the average time from encountering a migrant in the field to expelling them from the country is just two hours, compared with the days or weeks it could normally take to process, detain and remove an illegal immigrant. Those authorities have been credited with keeping detention centers, which a year ago were packed amid an ongoing border crisis, relatively empty.
“The president’s decision to implement CDC and HHS authorities quickly averted the profound public health and national security threat at our Southwest border and will endure as one of the pivotal actions taken against the coronavirus in the United States,” a senior administration official told Fox News. “If not for this effort, tens of thousands of aliens acting as potential carriers for the coronavirus would have continued to enter law enforcement facilities near the border in congregate settings, making our Southwest border a major vein for coronavirus outbreak.”
The DHS data also show that between January and July, the total number of those apprehended, deemed inadmissible, or expelled under Title 42 at the southern border, have comprised 130 separate nationalities — including China and Brazil — attempting to gain entry.
Trump has placed a great deal of emphasis on his border and immigration-related actions in how he reacted to the virus — even as he has faced criticism for this administration’s handling of the crisis. He placed travel bans on China, Europe, Iran and the U.K. in the initial days of the crisis as part of an effort to combat the virus.
Officials are saying that the Title 42 authorities allowed the U.S. to avoid an overcrowding at facilities that could have been deadly in spreading the virus, at facilities, to staff, and eventually into the U.S. homeland itself. Many of those migrants also have been packed into vehicles or shelters on their journey north.
“We already know that overcrowding at DHS facilities can lead to increased cases of easily communicable diseases, such as measles, mumps, chicken pox, and the flu, but only a single individual infected with the coronavirus within the detained migrant community could ignite an acute public health crisis whereby our frontline defenses and operations would be crippled, law enforcement facilities at or near the border would become incubators of the illness, and intensive care units and hospital beds for Americans overwhelmed virtually overnight,” the official said.
Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan told Fox News in May that the numbers of migrants in custody had gone down from the tens of thousands last year to just over 100.
“This strategy has kept a potentially vast number of migrants from overwhelming our health care systems along the border,” Morgan told Fox News in a response to written questions. “And our Border Patrol agents are seeing fewer people attempt to cross the border illegally. In fact, CBP’s encounters with migrant individuals have dropped to approximately 500 a day.”
The Title 42 authorities are just one tool the administration has used to bring down numbers at the border since the 2019 crisis saw more than 100,000 a month apprehended at the border in the spring.
Key to that has been the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) or the “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, which sent migrants back to Mexico to await their immigration hearings. The Trump administration has also signed a series of asylum cooperative agreements with Northern Triangle countries that has stopped migrant flows, or allowed swift returns to those countries for asylum claims.
Meanwhile, the administration also has been forging ahead with construction of a wall at the southern border, marking 200 miles built last month. Officials say this helps stem illegal immigration and makes it easier to apprehend migrants attempting to cross the border.
Author: Adam Shaw