Lawmakers ask Biden administration to prioritize health of border agents, communities

Cuellar said 80 agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector tested positive for COVID-19

SAN ANTONIO – Texas border lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to prioritize the health and safety of border agents and communities amid a COVID-19 case surge.

Rep. Henry Cuellar said dozens of U.S. Border Patrol agents are testing positive for COVID-19.

“They need to stop letting people in,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar said nonprofit organizations along the southern border don’t have enough capacity for all the migrants coming into the U.S. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, he says he is concerned about the health of Border Patrol agents.

“Just last week, just in the (Rio Grande) Valley alone, they had over 20,000 encounters,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar said 80 agents in the Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley sector have tested positive for COVID-19.

Rep. Tony Gonzales says he’s also worried.

“We have to protect our federal our federal agents that are doing the work,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said agents and law enforcement on the border need more resources.

“The number one thing that we have to do is we have to secure our southern border,” Gonzales said. “Number two, as these migrants come over, they must be processed, they must be tested, and we have to ensure that we’re not releasing COVID-positive migrants into any community.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released this statement:

“CBP provides migrants with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody, and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times, including when they are transferred or in the process of being released. If anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody, they are referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatment. CBP takes its responsibility to prevent the spread of communicable diseases very seriously. We value our partners in local communities whose work is critical to moving individuals safely out of CBP/USBP custody and through the appropriate immigration pathway.”

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