COVID Takes a Deadly Toll on Border Patrol
Thisyear is already the deadliest on record for U.S. Customs and Border Protection(CBP) personnel, due to COVID-19 and illegal aliens.
The McAllen (Texas) Monitor reported this month that 10 CBP officers have died since March as a result of contracting coronavirus. No other year had more than seven line-of-duty fatalities, according to CBP records dating back to 2003.
Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of CBP, warned that Illegal border crossers are “putting every agent’s life at risk.” He said “several hundred” CBP officers have tested positive for COVID after contacts with migrants.
At an Aug. 6 teleconference, Morgan said filthy stash houses and crowded tractor-trailers have become “perfect incubators for COVID-19.” “[Illegal aliens are] traveling through COVID hotspots inside Mexico, a country whose COVID cases and deaths continue to rise. Even though some of the illegal aliens know, or highly suspect, that they have COVID, they’re still coming.”
In April, FAIR reported that CBP was using expedited deportation procedures to return illegal border crossers back to Mexico in an average of 96 minutes. But Morgan noted that even fleeting contact “endangers the lives of CBP personnel and their families. A single COVID illegal alien could infect hundreds of other illegal aliens, as well as our workforce.”
As for illegal aliens who evadeapprehension, Morgan said, “They don’t just remain in the border towns andcities. It’s not about migrants risking their lives any longer. It’s way beyondthat. Now they’re risking the lives of everyone they come in contact with.”
Some of the contacthappens during CBP’s humanitarian work. So far this fiscal year, CBP agentshave rescued more than 3,900 injured or incapacitated illegal aliens. Whiletreated at hospitals, at least 60 migrants tested positive for COVID, Morgansaid. The number is probably higher, as the agency is not always notified ofthe results.
The CBP chief concludedwith an appeal to anyone looking to enter the U.S. illegally: “Heed thewarnings of your own countries with respect to travel restrictions. Heed thewarnings of the medical experts that are saying this is not appropriatebehavior. You’re risking everybody’s life.”
Truer now than ever.