Texas officer says migrants told him they were released because they had COVID-19

Texas officer says migrants told him they were released because they had COVID-19
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A Texas police officer said that a migrant family told him they were released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents due to positive COVID-19 tests. 

The La Joya Police Department (LJPD) said Monday that a local citizen told an officer about a family “coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths and ... not wearing face masks” at a Whataburger restaurant. 

The family was asked by the restaurant management to leave due to “disregard to other people's health.” 

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The LJPD officer approached the family, and they relayed that they had been released by Border Patrol because they were diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The family told the officer that they had been living in a hotel paid for by the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, according to law enforcement. 

The charity group has also booked rooms in the hotel for undocumented families, and the officer noted that he saw 20 to 30 people staying in the hotel without masks. 

“We want to inform the public about the current situation we have encountered and ask that the citizens of La Joya exercise social distancing measures and that they please use face masks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or its variants,” the police department said. 

The LJPD has said it will assist Border Patrol in apprehending hundreds of undocumented migrants in the region. According to the police statement, CBP informed the force that the agency surpassed 1 million apprehensions last month. 

Hidalgo County, Texas, Judge Richard Cortez told CBS affiliate KTVT that federal agents should stop releasing undocumented migrants into their communities. 

“I call on federal immigration officials to stop releasing infected migrants into our community and am further calling on Governor Abbott to return to Hidalgo County the safety tools he took away that would help us slow the spread of this disease. This is unacceptable,” Cortez said. 

The Hill has reached out to the La Joya Police Department, the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services for comment.