Texas lawmakers concerned about COVID-19 risk as migrants gain entry to the US

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The White House says Border Patrol is processing hundreds of asylum seekers daily who have been waiting in Mexico for the past few years while their case processes in U.S. Immigration Court.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says Border Patrol is increasing the number of asylum seekers processed at the southern border.

“We are now at three ports, and we have enhanced our processes at one of those ports to reach 100 individuals a day,” Mayorkas said.

Mayorkas says this is part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to reverse the previous administration’s “migrant protection protocol.”

But Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) says the problem is the migrants coming into the country aren’t being tested for COVID-19.

“I got border mayors saying, ‘woah hold it, hold it, our hospitals are full, we are not getting enough vaccines right now, so you’re releasing undocumented people at our bus stations and our centers without checking them,'” Cuellar said.

Cuellar says the border communities and local nonprofits are being forced to take on the responsibility.

“They want to help, but not all of them have gotten vaccines, and they are worried about the health of their volunteers,” Cuellar said.

“We have heard nothing but crickets,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Cornyn says it should be up to the federal government to fix it.

“They got ahead of themselves and decided to reverse existing policies without coming up with a coherent plan, so we are still waiting for one,” said Cornyn.

According to a local U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, any person who shows symptoms associated with COVID-19 are consulted by onsite medical personnel, and then referred to a local hospital for testing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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