EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — An Indian man who was arrested after illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico tested positive for the coronavirus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the 31-year-old Indian man and three Mexican nationals on April 23 near Calexico, Calif. Three Mexican nationals were immediately returned to Mexico under new protocols CBP put in place as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indian man, however, was transported to a Border Patrol facility for processing, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a news release. The man was evaluated by medical personnel and placed in quarantine because he was displaying flu-like symptoms. Medical personnel ultimately tested the subject for the coronavirus, which came back positive.
“The potential for the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in CBP stations and processing centers presents a danger to migrants, our frontline agents and officers, and the American people. Our agents and officers continue to protect our country from this invisible enemy, risking their own lives for the health of our nation,” Morgan in a statement. “This is precisely the reason the CDC has given CBP the authority to rapidly return individuals that could potentially be infected with COVID-19. Can you imagine if we were navigating this pandemic during this time last year when we had more than 20,000 migrants in our custody? It would have overwhelmed our processing centers and stations, and crippled the healthcare system along the border.”
The subject has been transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement where he will continue to be treated based on medical personnel recommendations.
Meantime, CBP is conducting contact tracing with those he may have been in contact with and closely monitoring his symptoms. CBP has notified its counterparts in the government of Mexico of the incident.
This is the first individual in CBP custody to test positive for COVID-19.
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