As Texas struggles with the continuing crisis at the souther border, a well-regarded Texas border-town doctor made a plea to the Biden administration to stop illegal immigration in the south.
"The uptick in cases locally is certainly linked to the number of those coming across the border who have already contracted the virus," said Dr. Antonio Falcon, a Rio Grande Valley doctor, told Fox News, adding that there was an "uptick in cases in the last couple of weeks," including a 900 percent increase in the number of encounters who tested positive for COVID-19 in July.
According to Fox News, immigrants released by Customs and Border Protection are dropped off with Catholic Charities and tested for COVID by a third-party service. If positive, they are asked to quarantine and are offered a room. Due to inadequate containment efforts, migrants who were infected reportedly travelled to local communities without the knowledge of authorities.
"That is absolutely not the way to handle such an infectious disease of this scope, especially one that's so easily transmittable with the new variant," Falcon said.
A vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, Chris Cabrera, said on "Fox News Live" that agents have to release COVID-positive migrants into the U.S. "day in, day out," with Border Patrol agents left worried for their well-being.
"We're releasing people out of the door day in and day out with actual positive tests for COVID, and more keep popping up," he said. Cabrera warned that several agents have been quarantined or are sick with COVID-19 as a result.
"It's grossly irresponsible for anyone…to allow somebody with COVID into the community knowing good and well the situation that we're living under right now," Falcon said.
When asked how the administration should confront the situation, Falcon said, "I would recommend that they do not allow them to cross unless it's done legally, and in the way that we already have laws that dictate the immigration processes."
Falcon added that immigrants coming from Central American are coming from hotspots of other deadly diseases, like multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.
"In this cloud of COVID, we also have other infectious diseases that we have to be concerned about, and nobody's talking about it," he said.
"If you do a little research, you'll find that one of the hotspots for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is Central America," Falcon said.
"The same individuals that are bringing COVID across are potentially bringing across very dangerous infections into our community, like multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and that's only one of several other things that can come up from Central America. There's absolutely no control…right now," he said, "and it's just grossly irresponsible to our community."
The Department of Homeland Security responded through a CBP spokesperson with a statement outlining their agency's actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from migrants.
"CBP provides migrants with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times, including when they are transferred or in the process of being released," the statement read.
"If anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody, they are referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatment. CBP takes its responsibility to prevent the spread of communicable diseases very seriously. We value our partners in local communities whose work is critical to moving individuals safely out of CBP/USBP custody and through the appropriate immigration pathway."
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