With Coronavirus Concerns Heightened, 328 Chinese Nationals Caught at Southern Border Trying to Enter U.S. Illegally

“We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — As the U.S. fight against the Coronavirus heightens awareness on the nation's borders, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officials and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that 100's of Chinese nationals have attempted to illegally enter the United States through the southern border since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China. The White House recently announced travel restrictions for China, saying the U.S. would keep out any foreign national who’s been in China within 14 days.
“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico Border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported.

“Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”

“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions. We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest,” said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

The Chinese citizens were “apprehended” and sent back across the border or repatriated consistent with existing policy and procedure, CBP officials said.

Some 227 foreign nationals from other nations who tried to enter through legal border points from Feb. 2 through March 3 have been turned away due to the travel restriction ordered by President Donald Trump and implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), officials said.
"We know from experience that the journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions — and they often arrive with no passports, medical histories, or travel manifests,” said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

"The individuals coming in at our 11 airports are being funneled, and we have very good information of their travel history, of their medical history.

"We’re not going to have that same set of fidelity for the individuals if this continues to grow at the southwest border."

Senior administration officials said that the president’s three-year focus on the border, the new wall, and the policy of keeping illegal immigrants in Mexico while awaiting permission to enter the U.S. have gone a long way to keep the virus away, especially at the southern border.
“The American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to protect our homeland," said acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (left.)

"While the general risk to the American public remains low, DHS has mobilized a department-wide response to keep Americans safe, secure, and informed.

"Fortunately, we were able to engage DHS assistance early to prevent the spread of this virus in the U.S. We remain locked arm-in-arm with our interagency partners, HHS and CDC health professionals, and state and local officials acting as one to safeguard the health and safety of the American people.”

Added another a senior administration official: “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border.”

By the numbers: Illegal Immigrants apprehended at the southern border since January 1:
  • China:  328
  • South Korea:  3
Foreign nationals refused by CBP at Land Ports of Entry between February 2 to March 3:
  • Canada:  113
  • China:  90
  • India:  9
  • Mexico:  6
  • Germany:  4
  • Bangladesh:  2
  • Japan:  2
  • Norway:  1
    Singapore:  1
Border Patrol agents said that in addition to the 1,000 illegal aliens who are caught every day entering the U.S. through the southern border, a significant number of illegal aliens are managing to sneak into the country undetected.

"The administration will continue to closely monitor the virus globally, as well as in our hemisphere, and will adjust our proactive measures as necessary," Wolf said.