Illegal Crossings Drop at Border; Agents Complain About Infected Masks
Homeland Security officials deem the partial border shutdown also helped reduce illegal border crossings by more than half.
Acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted out that measures to control the coronavirus pandemic at the border cut illegal border crossings by more than 50%.
Since @CBP began implementing @CDCgov order, we've seen a major decline in traffic at our borders—54% decrease at ports and 52% decline in USBP encounters—while trade remains level. These reductions reflect a historic & aggressive containment strategy by @POTUS to protect the US. pic.twitter.com/QrcwqfHk55— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) March 22, 2020
The CDC rules that allowed for a limited closure of the nation’s two land borders had only been enacted a few days before. Meanwhile, the chief of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector has also taken to Twitter, showing border agents and detained migrants alike wearing face masks. Chief Roy Villarreal also posted this message.
"As part of our effort the United States border patrol will expeditiously expel those illegally entering our country," he said.
A Border Patrol spokesman for the Tucson Sector wrote that agents and those in their custody have access to N-95 respirator masks, surgical masks, nitrile gloves and medical professionals.
"The proper use of PPE is expected of any individual who enters a Tucson Sector Border Patrol facility as we move forward to help prevent the spread of COVID-19." they wrote in the statement.
Border Patrol agent unions across the country have criticized CBP for not exercising enough care of agents. In Laredo, the local agency union said masks doled out to agents there were infected with rodent droppings.