Trump Administration Has Expelled 10,000 Migrants at the Border During Coronavirus Outbreak, Just 100 in Custody at the Border
Nick Miroff, Washington Post, April 9, 2020
The Trump administration has carried out nearly 10,000 summary deportations or “expulsions” since March 21, using emergency public health measures that have given U.S. Customs and Border Protection broad authority to bypass immigration laws, CBP officials said Thursday.
The measures have allowed the agency to quickly turn away most unauthorized migrants — sending them back across the U.S.-Mexico border. The moves have dramatically slashed the number of detainees held in border stations, where they fear the coronavirus could spread, the officials said. CBP has fewer than 100 detainees in custody, down from nearly 20,000 at this time last year during the border crisis, officials said.
Since the implementation of the rapid expulsions, unlawful border crossings have dropped 56 percent, said acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan. Morgan also acknowledged that the United States has all but closed its borders to asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution, including those who attempt to enter legally at U.S. ports of entry.
CBP said the number of migrants detained at the border fell to 33,937 in March, down 7 percent from February. Single adults from Mexico accounted for 70 percent to 75 percent of those taken into custody, and most of the remainder were from Central America’s Northern Triangle countries: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The Mexican government has agreed to accept the rapid return of migrants from those nations at the border under an agreement reached with the Trump administration last month.
The average amount of time it takes agents to expel border-crossers to Mexico under the emergency protocols is just 96 minutes. The agents record migrants’ personal data and biometric info, then load them into vans for rapid return to the nearest border crossing. No medical exams are performed unless the person is in distress.