Mark Morgan, a top US border official under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, reportedly estimated that the Biden administration has dropped at least 40,000 illegal aliens infected with Covid-19 into American cities.
Morgan called the estimate “conservative” in an interview on Thursday with the Washington Examiner. He had previously pegged the overall number of illegal migrants released into the US since President Joe Biden took office in January at 270,000.
“We know that everybody being released, they’re not being tested,” Morgan said in a recent briefing sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. “We know that.”
Morgan was acting commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) during the final 19 months of Trump’s term as president after briefly serving as acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He headed the US Border Patrol during the final four months of the Obama-Biden administration.
Morgan argued that the current surge in illegal immigration is more troubling than past crises, such as under the Obama administration, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said 32 CBP employees, including nine Border Patrol members, have died after contracting the virus in the line of duty, and Covid-19 cases are spiking in towns along the Rio Grande River.
One Texas city alone, McAllen, has reportedly received more than 1,500 Covid-positive migrants in the past week and over 7,000 this year. More than 1,800 migrants a day are being bused to a park in McAllen each day, prompting the city to declare an emergency. The park has been converted into a tent city, and migrants are tested for Covid-19 on arrival. The infection rate is currently 15%.
Nearly 213,000 illegal aliens were encountered by Border Patrol agents at the US-Mexico border in July, the CBP reported on Thursday. The July total marked the second straight month of setting a new 20-year high and exceeded June’s encounters by 13%.
The Biden administration has argued that many migrants are being turned away under a temporary policy, called Title 42, designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, the CBP report showed that in July, fewer than 96,000 migrants, or 45% of the total number encountered, were expelled under Title 42.
An influx of unaccompanied children, whom Biden has pledged to allow into the country, has continued unabated. Nearly 19,000 were encountered by CBP in July, up 24% from June’s level. The number of children in CBP custody jumped 72% from June’s rate, averaging 1,363 a day. Children in border detention centers have been subjected to horrific conditions, including alleged sexual abuse and outbreaks of Covid-19 and other illnesses, a BBC probe found.
About 27% of the illegal aliens encountered at the border last month had been apprehended at least once previously in the past year, CBP said. That’s about double the typical rate of repeat offenders. In a typical year, border crossings slow in the summer amid the scorching heat.
Biden’s Department of Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, tried to downplay the crisis in a press briefing on Thursday. “We have seen surges in migration before,” he said. “We’ve seen them in the past, and migration surges are not new.” He also took time to partly blame the Trump administration, which he said, “dismantled our asylum system.”
Morgan wrote on Thursday in a National Review oped that Biden’s administration is “knowingly seeding” border towns and cities with Covid-infected migrants, playing a “dangerous political game with American lives.” He noted the irony that most vaccinated European citizens who have tested negative for Covid-19 still can’t enter the US – nor can a vaccinated Mexican citizen arriving at a legal port of entry – but “an illegal alien family with Covid is rapidly released into the US.”