U.S. ramps up return of asylum-seekers from Mexico


32 migrants admitted to El Paso shelters have tested positive for COVID-19 and routed to “quarantine hotels”

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Federal authorities have increased two-fold the number of asylum-seekers allowed to return from Mexico through the El Paso port of entry.

As of this week, 100 international citizens are coming across from Juarez, Mexico, daily as they’re taken out of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. Those international citizens are being routed to the Annunciation House nonprofit shelter system.

“We continue to work with our (non-government organizations) and the Frontera Welcome Coalition to assess needs and to help with migrant shelter capacity,” said El Paso Assistant Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Jorge Rodriguez. “As of (Tuesday), MPP transfers went from 50 per day to 100 per day. That continues to work seamlessly with our NGOs and our federal partners.”

El Paso was one of three ports of entry the Department of Homeland Security back in February designated for processing asylum seekers taken out of the Trump-era program. MPP, or “Remain in Mexico,” forced nearly 70,000 potential refugees to await the outcome of their cases outside the United States. More than half left or no longer have an active case in U.S. immigration court; however, the Biden administration may be reviewing some of those cases soon.

El Paso Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino said 32 migrants housed at El Paso shelters have tested positive for the coronavirus. Those are being taken to isolation in “quarantine hotels,” he said. That adds up to a 3.5% coronavirus positivity rate since a total of 901 migrants have been tested so far.

D’Agostino said tests are being supplied by the state of Texas and local authorities are providing staff and ancillary services out of the city’s general fund.

“We’ve been tracking our costs very closely from the beginning. We will be looking for additional CARES Act funding and other federal reimbursements for quarantine hotels,” Rodriguez said.

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