More than 100 illegal immigrants released by the Border Patrol into Texas since late January have tested positive for the coronavirus following their arrival, officials in a city on the U.S.-Mexico border told Fox News.
Felipe Romero, a spokesperson for Brownsville, said Wednesday that the 108 positives represent 6.3% of the number of total migrants who have been rapid-tested at the city’s main bus station, where they are being released by the Border Patrol. Rapid testing of the individuals began there on Jan. 25.
He added that Brownsville does not have the authority to prevent those who test positive from traveling elsewhere in the U.S. — and are advising them to quarantine, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and socially distance.
Romero told Fox that the city doesn’t have the authority to halt migrants who test positive for the virus from traveling anywhere else in the United States, although officials advised them to quarantine and follow federal health guidelines.
“The City of Brownsville continues to follow all guidelines provided by the CDC and [Department of State Health Services] for COVID-19. The migrants who test positive at the B-Metro facility are advised of quarantine procedures and are asked to socially distance,” Romero also told Noticias Telemundo Investiga.
“There are several NGOs providing resources to a positive case,” he said to the outlet. “For example, organizations help with quarantine either in a shelter or at hotel. Since the City started testing the migrants on January 25, there has been 6.3 percent of positive cases. The Cameron County positivity rate is 13.8 percent.”
Several illegal immigrants told Noticias Telemundo Investiga that they tested positive for the CCP virus after taking a rapid test in Brownsville, which is located near the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Right now we were tested for COVID and they separated about eight of us because we were positive,” Miriam Izaguirre, of Honduras, told Noticias Telemundo Investiga on March 2. “We are waiting right now.” She was waiting to catch a bus to Houston.
Some illegal immigrants added to the network that they tested positive and are planning to go to New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Eva Orellana, 29, told the outlet that she’s planning to go to North Carolina—after she tested positive for the virus.
“On the way, we were wearing a mask all the time, gel, washing our hands,” she said. “Really, I don’t feel anything.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose congressional district lies partially on the border, told Fox News this week that the surge of migrants along the border may turn into a full-fledged crisis.
“It is not a crisis yet, but it will become a crisis,” Cuellar warned. “The numbers have been increasing, and as your report just said a few minutes ago, the numbers are just increasing every day. The number of unaccompanied kids, the number of families who are coming in are just increasing every day. In my district, just a couple of days ago, 166 people. And it goes on, and just different numbers are going up. So, it’s not a crisis yet, but it’s going to get there very soon.”
The Democrat noted that it’s not just the increase in immigrants—but also the virus.
“You add COVID-19 on top of that. You add a lot of the border communities are not getting the vaccines fast enough. The fact they aren’t letting Mexican legal visa holders come across, but they’re letting undocumented people in, that does cause a concern to me and a lot of my border community leaders down there. So yes, and if you look at the Border Patrol, they’re operating at 25 percent,” he further stated.