President Trump’s shutdown of the southern border early in the coronavirus crisis kept nearly 190,000 illegal immigrants from 70% of the world from entering the United States and potentially spreading the disease, according to administration data.
Officials said that 186,000 from 130 of the world’s 195 nations, including China and Mexico, were stopped from entering the country since the beginning of the year. Some 42 had unknown citizenship.
What’s more, officials said that special precautions taken at Department of Homeland Security border facilities have kept infection numbers low in local communities.
“The actions of President Trump quickly addressed public health threat posed by the coronavirus as migrant flows threatened to accelerate outbreak in the United States through the southwest border, and imploringly, helped ensure that fewer potentially infected, un-screened, un-vetted, and unauthorized aliens were entering U.S. detention facilities for the virus to spread to other parts of the country,” said an administration review.
An official added, “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. Due to this health risk, the U.S. border has never been more secure.”
Border tightening began in March after the Centers for Disease Control told the Department of Homeland Security to block illegal immigrants from entering. Their order was one of several Trump administration efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
Officials said that in using Title 42 authority, they could send back an apprehended illegal in just a few hours instead of weeks.
That has kept infections in local border communities low. And by sending illegal immigrants back across the border and keeping detention centers vacant, there has been little infection among Customs and Border Protection officials and other government workers.
“Without proper precautions, which could only happen through decisive action to control orderly, lawful entry at the borders, the virus posed extraordinary harm to Americans, other arriving migrants, medical professionals, DHS personnel, and ultimately other countries around the world,” said the official on background.
The numbers, said officials, are incredible. For example, nearly 60,000 Mexicans were stopped, as were 12,632 people from Guatemala and 8,000 people from Ecuador and El Salvador combined.
Before Title 42 kicked in, border officials stopped 98,000 from countries with the virus from entering.
Since the March 21 order began, another 88,100 were stopped.
“Had the president not exercised these authorities, many of these aliens would have entered the United States to remain in the country awaiting judicial proceedings while threatening to spread the virus,” read the review.
An official added, “If not for the tools already put in place by the administration, including the Migrant Protection Protocols, the outlook at the southwest border would have been wholly untenable under a continuation of the crisis-level migrant flows witnessed in 2019. The reforms put forth over the past two years means we are better prepared for the unprecedented public health challenge taking place at our border today.”