US expels thousands of migrants using virus order

US expels thousands of migrants using virus order
The US has closed its border with Mexico to all but essential traffic. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Officials said, the United States has expelled more than 6,300 undocumented migrants on its Mexico border using emergency powers to curb coronavirus spread.

The 21 March public health measure lets officials override immigration laws, expediting removal processes.

The order gathered criticism as critics say it is being used against migrants as an extension of strict immigration policies.

Meanwhile, the number of illegal border crossings has fallen amid travel restrictions across the region.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued emergency public health order, that bans the entry of foreigners considered to pose a “serious danger” to the spread of communicable disease.

CDC Director Dr Robert R Redfield said the measure, initially in place for 30 days, was necessary to limit the spread of the disease in crowded places such as border patrol stations or ports of entry.

The US has the world’s highest number of confirmed infections – more than 460,000 – and nearly 16,500 deaths, according to the data of Johns Hopkins University.

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said since the CDC measure was introduced, apprehensions at the border dropped by 50%.

Explaining the current situation, he said fewer than 100 people were under the agency’s custody, a 97% fall from the average of 3,000.

He added that nearly 80% of those found at the border were being removed within hours, saying the “overwhelming majority” were caught crossing illegally.

Most were sent back to Mexico while some were returned to their home countries.

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