Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, March 22, 2020
Illegal border crossings were cut in half on the first day of the border shutdown, Homeland Security said Sunday, calling the ability to quickly deport migrants a major win as the country tries to limit spread of the coronavirus.
The shutdown, which began at the end of Friday, covers America’s borders with both Canada and Mexico, closing them to all but “essential” traffic. That means no tourism, though regular trade continues, as do visits for medical care or those who cross the border for school.
As part of the shutdown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention triggered a section of the Public Health Act that bars entry of all undocumented immigrants and allows the U.S. to turn them back at the border.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said they’re already seeing effects.
“That’s what the department has been doing over the last 24 hours and I would say it is working, we see almost a 50% drop in illegal apprehensions, those illegal individuals coming across our borders,” he told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” program.
Those that do still show up are immediately returned back across the border, officials said over the weekend.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the restrictions won’t affect foreign guest-worker programs such as farm workers who plan to come to the U.S. on H-2A visas.