As threats of the spreading coronavirus persist, the Trump administration reportedly plans to reject individuals seeking asylum as well as those seeking to enter the U.S. illegally at both the northern and southern borders, citing concerns about the potential spread of the virus via detention facilities and to Border Patrol agents.
Expected to be announced later this week, the new rule maintains that ports of entry will remain open to American citizens and commercial traffic, to those with green-cards, and to other individuals who can produce the appropriate documentation.
However, all other individuals apprehended between ports of entry will be turned away without first being held in detention and without undergoing legal proceedings.
In many instances, those turned away at the southern border will be returned to Mexico.
Individuals seeking entry to the U.S. from countries currently subject to travel restrictions, including all of Europe, China, and Iran, will also be denied admittance.
In addition, earlier today, President Trump announced that the Northern Border shared with Canada would also be closed to “non-essential traffic,” though he promises the moves will have no effect on trade.
“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow,” the president said via Twitter.
Mexico currently has more than 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while Canada has approximately 500.
By comparison, the United States has roughly 7,038 confirmed cases of the virus according to today’s CDC update.
Though the virus has been slower to spread to countries in Central America, White House officials cited concerns of migrants from countries, such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, seeking access to medical treatment in the U.S. if the virus does in fact spread to these areas.
The restrictions, however, will apply not only to individuals at the southern border but to those seeking access at the northern border as well in an effort to mitigate the health risks to Border Patrol agents.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.