The United States Border Patrol does not test those crossing the border. In a recent New York Times article, the United States Border Patrol claims that they are unable to test the hundreds of migrants who arrive at the border and are put into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers due to lack of time and funds. Many migrants claim that they were “perfectly healthy” before being placed in a detention facility with hundreds of other migrants amid surges of infections across many Latin American countries.
Although those who are seeking to cross the border are screened for health concerns, the COVID-19 virus is not included in that screening. The only migrants that are tested for COVID-19 are unaccompanied minors as well as migrants who actively appear sick.
ICE and U.S Border Patrol’s failure to test incoming families and individuals has led to outbreaks of the virus across detention camps and has led to people being put in isolation hotels and facilities while they combat the virus.
Cases among migrants are surging, notably, at an ICE facility in Aurora, Colorado, where over one hundred migrants tested positive for COVID-19. ICE officials at the facility claim that they have followed risk minimization protocols despite the increase in cases. In particular, ICE officials from the Aurora facility claim that migrants are tested post transport to the facility. However, this testing does not account for any transmission or exposure that could have occurred during the transport.
Despite the uptick in cases among migrants, it is unlikely that the number of cases will affect the overall U.S case numbers and infection rate.