In South Texas, border patrol stated they would begin administering rapid COVID-19 tests to every migrant family and individual released from custody. In the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) area, the Department of Homeland Security has already begun the process. After these people are released, they are expected to be turned over to local shelters.
Since Biden was inaugurated, the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has exploded. Since February, in McAllen, Texas, there were multiple reports of federal agents dropping off approximately 200 families per day at local bus stations. On Tuesday, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling stated the number has increased to 600-750 a day.
USA Today reported that local church groups in the RGV use Zoom to coordinate key testing services and resources. Bold TV reached out to the Catholic Charities in RGV but did not hear back in time for this story.
Darling went on to state, “We don’t know what the solution is going to be. We just started with a new administration, and I don’t think they know either.”
Failing to issue court notices
In addition to border patrol releasing families in this manner, there are documented instances of the government agency failing to issue court notices to migrants. This is because it takes hours and a ton of paperwork for even one migrant. And with court notices typically comes additional paperwork, including background checks and COVID tests.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not answered any media questions on how many migrants have been released into the U.S. without court notices. The U.S. immigration courts have a backlog of approximately 1.2 million cases.
A border crisis
As of Tuesday, there are approximately 17,641 unaccompanied, undocumented migrants under the government’s care. The government further breaks down this number by placing 5,606 under the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s watch and 12,035 under the Department of Health and Human Services.
Last week, President Biden held his first press conference. During the conference, he stated that other countries’ conditions forced them to come to the U.S. border to seek a better life.
“It’s because of earthquakes, floods. It’s because of lack of food. It’s because of gang violence. It’s because of a whole range of things,” he said.
In February, U.S. border patrol encountered 100,441 migrants along the border. That number is projected to rise for March.