KPRC 2 Trust Index: Are immigrants with COVID-19 entering the US?

HOUSTON – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was fired up on Wednesday after President Joe Biden called the governor’s decision to end the mask mandate “Neanderthal thinking.”

The governor accused President Biden of letting COVID-19 positive undocumented immigrants into the country through our state’s southern border.

Is that claim true? That’s what a lot of you have been asking. We’re putting it through the KPRC 2 Trust Index.

Last month, President Biden ended a program forcing migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their cases were heard. Now, those immigrants who are waiting on a court hearing can be released into the United States. Federal officials say they are all screened for COVID-19 before entering. But, KPRC 2 has discovered other immigrants crossing the border are not always screened for COVID-19 before they’re released.

In February, KPRC 2 Investigator Robert Arnold traveled to the Texas border where he spoke with federal agents about a new surge of immigrants crossing the border illegally.

“It was like 253 within a two-hour time frame, that was mainly family units and unaccompanied minors,” said Border Agent Jesse Moreno.

Customs and Border Patrol told KPRC 2 anyone detained is medically screened. If they’re symptomatic, they go to a hospital or clinic for testing. No symptoms, no test and that person could be released, pending a court hearing. Earlier this week, our partners at Telemundo discovered immigrants released from federal custody, arriving at the Brownsville Bus Station, where the city of Brownsville set up COVID-19 testing.

The city told Telemundo, since Jan. 25, 108 migrants tested positive for COVID-19, or about 6% who took the test. The city can’t stop someone from getting on a bus and some COVID-19 positive migrants who spoke to Telemundo said they were headed for destinations across the country.

So, the governor’s claim that COVID-19 positive undocumented immigrants are entering the country through the Texas-Mexico border is accurate.

It's True

We’ve reviewed information surrounding this topic and confirmed that It’s True.

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