A Customs Border Protection Special Response Team member patrols at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Hidalgo. McALLEN — In an effort to minimize risks and exposure to U.S. Border Patrol agents and detainees in detention facilities, agents are immediately expelling people apprehended between ports of entry.
During a call with media members, U.S. Border Patrol officials said this change in operations is meant to reduce the exposure its agents and those held in detention centers have to COVID-19.
Officials said agents encountering people attempting to enter the country illegally, between ports of entry, will process them at a mobile processing unit out in the field, and immediately expel them from the country through the nearest port of entry.
The only exception would be for anyone who has a prior aggravated criminal offense, and is deemed to be a “threat to the U.S. and or Mexico,” the officials said. Those people will be arrested, and taken in to be processed at a detention center.
The switch in procedure with regard to how Border Patrol agents approached newly apprehended persons was expected after DHS announced the travel restrictions at the border.
Officials said Border Patrol agents are supplied with personal protective equipment.
On Friday, DHS announced it would restrict travel at the border to only “essential” travelers.Essential travel includes, but is not limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents returning to the U.S., people traveling for medical purposes, in the case of receiving treatment in the U.S., people traveling to attend educational institutions, and those returning to the U.S. in the agriculture and farming industries.Additionally, those traveling as part of an emergency […]