WASHINGTON — The Trump administration today indefinitely extended its border restrictions, which permit border agents to quickly “expel” all migrants apprehended between ports of entry or presenting at ports of entry without valid documents, and without the fear screening required under U.S. law. The original 30-day restrictions were issued on March 20 and extended on April 20. The order cites concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following is a statement from Andrea Flores, deputy director of immigration policy for the American Civil Liberties Union:
“These now indefinite restrictions have nothing to do with curbing the spread of COVID-19. The administration refuses to heed the advice of public health experts to protect immigrants, government employees, and the general public from sickness and death, including by releasing people from ICE and CBP detention and suspending civil immigration enforcement. Instead, the president is hellbent on exploiting a public health crisis to achieve his long-held goal of ending asylum at the border. He’s also doubling down on fear-mongering against immigrants, so many of whom are essential workers during this crisis. Do not be fooled: Trump’s goal is not to protect our health, it’s to sow division and advance his political agenda.”
On May 18, 40 leading epidemiologists, public health experts, and former CDC officials wrote to HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield criticizing the CDC order’s “specious public health rationale” and calling for an end to the policy.