DHS secretary said migrants got sick, but not with COVID ‘to my knowledge’
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas told reporters on Friday that the nearly 15,000 migrants who camped under the Del Rio Bridge last week in poor conditions had not been tested for COVID-19, and they did not know that Did anyone get sick with a contagious virus while there.
Meyerkas was asked by the Biden administration about the use of Title 42 public health protections, which are deployed to quickly evacuate migrants arriving at the border, using the COVID-19 pandemic as an argument. Meyerkas insisted this was a public health measure to protect the population and the migrants themselves, not an immigration measure.
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Asked how many of the mainly Haitian migrants, who had been camping under the bridge in packed conditions, tested positive for the virus, Meyerkas said he did not know.
“We didn’t test that population of individuals,” Meyerkas said. “We don’t know, I don’t know, I should say if I can be completely accurate, I don’t know if anyone was sick with COVID. Certainly to our knowledge some people were sick, not with COVID and We addressed their diseases.”
He said the US had increased 150 medical personnel and medical facilities had been set up in the region to deal with the health issues of the migrants.
Mayercas said 30,000 people had suffered in Del Rio since September 9 and 15,000 were concentrated there at one time.
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About 12,400 individuals are expected to have their cases heard by an immigration judge to decide whether they will be allowed to stay in the US
Another 8,000 have opted to return to Mexico, while an estimated 5,000 migrants are being processed by DHS, which will determine whether they will be deported or placed in an immigration processing centre, Meyerkas said. Only 2,000 have been deported.
“Migrants continue to be expelled under CDC’s Title 42 authorization,” Meyerkas said. “Title 42 is a public health authority, not an immigration policy.”
Granthshala News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.