Posted on May 9, 2019

Union President: Record Number of Border Patrol Agents Calling In Sick, CDC Needs to Step In

Saul Saenz, KVIA-TV, May 8, 2019

A record number of Border Patrol agents are calling in sick and others are showing up to work sick because they are out of sick time, the head of the local Border Patrol union tells ABC-7.

“I believe this is probably the record, you know, Border Patrol-wide, since ever, of agents calling in sick,” said Carlos Favela, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1929.

Favela said the trend started at the same time as the surge of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. in late 2018. Newly-released figures from the Department of Homeland Security reveal Border Patrol agents encountered 109,144 migrants in April 2019, the highest since 2007. The figure includes more than 58,000 migrant parents and children and 8,800 unaccompanied children taken into custody, according to Homeland Security.

Favela said agents are filing reports with the union, saying they came into contact with undocumented immigrants infected with the H1N1 virus and diseases like chicken pox and Legionnaires’.


The union is now calling on the Centers for Disease Control to step in and investigate. It is also demanding better protection for agents, better health screening procedures conducted by doctors, not nurses, and new facilities where sick immigrants can be quarantined.


{snip} “Ever since the big surge of the immigrants started coming in, even as far back as September, we started seeing those numbers slightly increase – of agents calling in sick.”

According to Favela, an average of 20 to 25 agents in the El Paso sector are calling in sick every day. The union leader said some agents are even reporting to work sick because they have run out sick time.

“The nightmare for the agent out in the field is that they contract tuberculosis or some kind of bacterial disease and they unknowingly take that home to their families and then their whole family is sick,” said Favela.