WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol issued a statement Saturday reminding “the public” that non-essential travel is restricted at U.S. border entry points because of COVID-19.
“CBP would like to remind the public that there is a temporary restriction on non-essential travel at U.S. land ports of entry. Essential travel continues unimpeded,” the U.S. agency posted on social media on Saturday.
The thousands of Central American and other migrants — including 14,000 unaccompanied teens and children — flowing into the U.S. border via Mexico have not received that message. The border influx also includes drug cartels, sexual predators as well as human smugglers and sex and child traffickers, security experts and Republicans worry.
Immigrants also continue to congregate on the Mexico side of the U.S. border waiting for entry.
The statement on restricted entries because of COVID comes as a wave of migrants mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala enter the U.S. The river of entries is straining border patrol resources and local communities. The Biden administration is having to find housing and services for unaccompanied teens and children.
Conservatives are hitting Biden hard over the border crisis, immigration reforms offering legal status to undocumented immigrations and potential plans to fly migrants across the country to be processed.
A number of the migrants entering the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.
That concerns U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing areas of upstate New York.
“President Biden’s proposal to fly illegal immigrants to Northern Border states for processing is dangerous and would put the safety of our North Country community and our border law enforcement officers at risk. This proposal is especially outrageous and untenable at a time when American citizens cannot even cross the Northern Border to visit their family or access their own property. President Joe Biden has created the most significant southern border crisis in my lifetime,” she said.
Stefanik worries about migrants with COVID and the amount of resources the southern border situation is requiring.
“Our southern border is a public health, humanitarian, economic, and national security crisis due to President Biden’s failed border and immigration policies,” she said.
How Biden handles migrant children and teens is already being compared to the Trump administration’s handling of previous surges. Trump received significant criticism for housing of unaccompanied teens and kids U.S. detention centers.
Now, Biden faces the same dilemma.