The extension of travel restrictions on the Southwest border with Mexico will mostly hurt asylum-seekers who are not allowed to set foot on U.S. soil while triggering a rash of deportations including that of unaccompanied minors, migrant advocates say.
As border restrictions were extended on Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection decided to alter its own policy. Now, instead of immediately being returned through border crossings, detained migrants will have to wait in custody up to three days before being flown all the way to Mexico City.
Medical experts are calling for expanded testing in minority-majority communities where people are more at risk of catching COVID-19. This includes cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, where older adults may have medical conditions making them more vulnerable to the virus, where social distancing is difficult in large households and where cross-border interaction complicates an effective managed response. “Essentially, we face a double-whammy as a region,” said U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas. “Communities like ours with majority-minority populations are as vulnerable as people in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. You add that we are across a country that has not prioritized testing and we face a double challenge.”