As the COVID-19 outbreak worsens in our country, it remains imperative to keep the health interests of immigration officials in our minds.
Reports indicate that Border Patrol agents at the southern border feel left behind during this outbreak. It is said they are not being given adequate medical supplies and information to help prevent the spread of disease to each other and to migrants. Some agents have claimed that “it’s a matter of when, not if” they begin to develop symptoms of the disease.
Each day, immigration authorities at our southern border apprehend thousands of illegal aliens. Many of these individuals come from developing countries with inadequate healthcare systems and generally do not have medical history documentation when presenting themselves at the U.S.-Mexico border. That said, the likelihood of a Border Patrol agent acquiring COVID-19 is a risk that must be acknowledged. The men and women of the Border Patrol put their lives at risk daily to keep our borders secured and to also ensure migrants who are seeking asylum are given the best opportunities.
Immigration officials working in the interior of the country also face health risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials continue to conduct law enforcement activities that make “social distancing” impossible and cannot remain self-quarantined. They continue to work in public to arrest dangerous criminal illegal aliens.
Because of these increased health risks, ICE recently requested 45,000 N95 masks, which are commonly used to help prevent inhaling the disease. However, due to a shortage of these and other protective gear, they are in direct competition with other first responders for these resources.
The American public must keep Border Patrol, ICE, and other law enforcement in mind and understand the sacrifices they are making. They deserve our complete appreciation and respect as they continue to work to protect public safety under difficult circumstances.
While much of the COVID-19 testing kits and other medical resources are finite, they should be reserved for those protecting folks on the front lines instead of those with greater celebrity or financial statuses.