The Trump administration is planning to immediately deport any illegal immigrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Administration officials said the Border Patrol cannot risk an outbreak of coronavirus in its detention facilities. Mexico has reported just 82 cases of coronavirus and the illness is not known to have spread widely through Latin America, however illegal immigrants and asylum seekers who cross the border often don’t have sufficient medical documentation, and the coronavirus is moving at a rapid pace throughout the U.S.
New rules for deportation of illegal immigrants are expected to be announced within the next 48 hours. According to the rules, illegal immigrants will be deported to Mexico immediately upon arrest, without any detention at Border Patrol facilities.
U.S. citizens and foreigners with residency permits or other proper documentation will be allowed into the country at legal crossing points.
President Trump has made a crackdown on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his agenda, repeatedly pushing to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and enacting various policies, including the “Remain in Mexico” rules, aimed at discouraging illegal immigration.
The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has caused various countries to implement border closures and restrictions. The Trump administration on Friday implemented a ban on foreigners from the European Union’s Schengen zone from entering the U.S., while E.U. nations have closed their borders and implemented lockdowns to slow the spread of the illness.