The La Joya Police Department released a statement on Monday telling their border town residents about how they had discovered COVID-positive illegal immigrants were being released by U.S. immigration authorities as the town continues to grapple with the surge of illegal border crossings.
La Joya Police, whose town is located right on the Rio Grande, said they received a call from a resident complaining about how there was a family at a local Whataburger who appeared to be sick, coughing and sneezing, and were not wearing masks.
The officer discovered the family unit had recently crossed into the United States, had COVID-19, had been released by Border Patrol, and were staying at a local hotel with the help of a local charity:
"The Officer approached the family and was told by them that they had been apprehended by Border Patrol days prior and were released because they were sick with Covid-19.
"It was also learned that the family was housed at the Texas Inn Hotel located at 612 E. Expressway 83 La Joya Tx. 78560, by a charity group. Officers made contact with Hotel management who explained that Catholic Charities of The Rio Grande Valley had booked all the rooms in the hotel to house undocumented immigrants that were detained by Border Patrol.
"Officers also observed that a group of 20 to 30 people staying at the hotel were out and about the majority without face masks. It was also learned that people being detained by Border Patrol that showed symptoms of illness or were positive for Covid -19 were being quarantined by the agency and then later they were given custody to Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to be placed in hotels in the McAllen area as well as La Joya."
La Joya PD said Catholic Charities did not inform them about COVID-positive illegal immigrants staying in local hotels.
"We want to inform the public about the current situation we have encountered and ask that the citizens of La Joya to exercise social distancing measures and that they please use face masks in order to prevent the spread of Covid -19 or its variants," La Joya PD added.
According to Border Report, Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said the hotel was at fault because they did not ensure to keep the migrants in their rooms, but noted the situation "has been corrected" and a security guard was hired to keep the migrants inside.
La Joya has been one of the border towns in Texas that has seen a near-daily influx of illegal immigrants coming to turn themselves in to Border Patrol. The police department has had to dedicate manpower to help Border Patrol as other times they are busy tracking people who do not want to be caught.