Story at a glance
- The U.S. has temporarily closed its borders with Canada and Mexico.
- This is to mitigate new cases of COVID-19 from entering the U.S.
- Acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the Trump administration is taking “bold, aggressive action” to mitigate coronavirus spread.
Illegal border crossing has dropped by half since the Trump administration temporarily closed the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders, a Trump official said Sunday according to the Associated Press (AP).
Since @CBP began implementing @CDCgov order, we've seen a major decline in traffic at our borders—54% decrease at ports and 52% decline in USBP encounters—while trade remains level. These reductions reflect a historic & aggressive containment strategy by @POTUS to protect the US. pic.twitter.com/QrcwqfHk55— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) March 22, 2020
Following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) new order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, AP reports that any individuals caught crossing the border illegally will be immediately deported to Mexico or Canada.
According to Mark Morgan, the acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the decision applies to all migrants, and the CBP will take anyone crossing the border into custody.
“We don’t know anything about you [the immigrant]. You have no documents, we’re not going to take you into our facilities and expose you to CBP personnel and the American people as well as immigrants,” he said Saturday on Fox News.
Mexican officials, however, said that they would not accept any immigrants who are not Mexican or Central American. Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said on Friday that “The United States will take care of that.”
READ MORE OF OUR BREAKING NEWS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
Last Friday, the CDC issued an order that bars illegal entry into the U.S. for the next 30 days. The decision aims to prevent overcrowding in understaffed detention centers, which could enable the spread of COVID-19. The CDC also took into consideration that migrants suspected of having COVID-19 would be sent to local hospitals, possibly infecting others.
There have been calls from multiple activist groups urging the release of immigrants from detention centers for the sake of immigrants’ health. Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shut down field officers across the country in response to the virus. Asylum applications will be temporarily suspended in between points of entry.
Speaking on Fox News, Morgan explained that trade cargo would still be permitted to cross both the U.S.’s northern and southern border. He said the Trump administration is taking “bold, aggressive action” at the border to prevent more cases of COVID-19.
“We’re absolutely limiting and taking reasonable restrictions to contain and mitigate, but it's still going to be open to essential travel and cargo. commercial trade is going to continue to flow,” Morgan explained.
The borders remain open to facilitate trade, as the U.S. has approximately $3 billion per day with Canada and Mexico, according to AP.