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As President Joe Biden’s border crisis swells, COVID-19 cases are surging in government-run detention centers. According to The New York Times, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported more than 7,500 new coronavirus cases in the crowded border camps since April. The new case numbers during that same period now make up 40 percent of total COVID positives reported by ICE in migrant detention centers since March 2020.
The skyrocketing virus case numbers also come as apprehensions and the number of migrants held in border camps almost doubled to more than 26,000 people between April and the first week of July.
While nearly 70 percent of Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19, ICE’s latest vaccination numbers for detained migrants in May indicated that just 20 percent had received an inoculation against the virus.
ICE claims that all new detainees are tested for COVID and then quarantined based on their results, but most of the migrants are grouped together on buses before they arrive and are tested at the camps, similar to prisons that experienced mass, deadly coronavirus outbreaks.
The virus spread, the Times report also indicated, comes as facilities become more crowded and health protocols and COVID mitigation techniques are overlooked.
“You have people coming in and out of the facility, into communities where incomplete vaccination allows these variants to flourish, and then you bring them inside the facilities, and that variant will spread,” Sharon Dolovich, a law professor and director of the Covid Behind Bars Data Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, said. “What you’re describing is the combination of insufficient vaccination plus the evolution of the virus, and that is really scary.”
Former President Donald Trump previously blasted Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as “incompetent” for ignoring the crisis at the southern U.S. border during his visit with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“I mean the real question is do they really want open borders or are they incompetent?” Trump said. “Because you’re either incompetent or for some reason you have a screw loose and you want to have open borders.”