DHS Secretary Mayorkas Admits Apprehended Migrants Were Released Before Getting COVID Test

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Posted: Mar 17, 2021 7:45 PM
DHS Secretary Mayorkas Admits Apprehended Migrants Were Released Before Getting COVID Test

Source: AP Photo/Matt York

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday that apprehended immigrants have been released into the United States without being tested for COVID-19.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) pressed Mayorkas about the problem after NBC News reported COVID positive migrants being released in Brownsville, Texas. Illegal immigrants who were dropped off at the city's Greyhound station were able to get on buses to other destinations further into the United States despite testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.

"There were times earlier when individuals were apprehended, and we sought to expel them, and we were unable to expel them, and we were compelled to release them, and we did not have the opportunity to test them. We have addressed that situation," Mayorkas said.

"Right now, you're telling me that no one is released into our country that is COVID-19 positive?" Clyde asked.

"Congressman, allow me to repeat myself if I may," Mayorkas replied.

"Well, that's just a yes or no question. Just yes or no," Clyde interjected.

"Congressman, if I may? The situation at the border is complex...It is our policy to test and to quarantine," Mayorkas said.

Clyde then asked if DHS is executing that policy "100 percent." Mayorkas said DHS is "working the best we can" to ensure the policy is followed.

During the same hearing, Mayorkas continued to insist when asked by members of Congress that the border is "secure" and "not open." 

In February, CBP apprehended 100,441 people trying to enter the United States along the southwest border, a 28 percent increase over January 2021. CBP completed 72,113 expulsions from the border under the CDC's guidance for Title 42 authority. Of the 100,441 apprehended individuals, 29,792 were unaccompanied children, with 2,942 of the minors being under 12-years-old and 26,850 were aged 13 to 17-years-old. The increase in illegal foot traffic comes after President Joe Biden reversed several immigration policies that were put in place by the Trump administration.