Data from the Department of Homeland Security shows that 328 immigrants from China were caught trying to he border illegally so far this year.
Three other people from South Korea were arrested at the border, The Washington Times reported.
The report comes as the coronavirus continues to spread across China, where there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases and 2,902 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. In South Korea, there are more than 6,000 active cases and 35 deaths.
“All told, more than 1,000 migrants a day are caught attempting to sneak in illegally from Mexico, which detected its first case last week, and since has identified five others,” The Times wrote. “And if that many are being caught each day, an unknown but significant number are getting through undetected, Border Patrol agents say.”
“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”
President Trump has suggested that he might move to close the southern border, but so far has made no attempt to do so.
Wrote The Times:
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf raised the issue Tuesday with the House Homeland Security Committee, saying that illegal immigration presents a unique threat compared to legal travelers from China, who are being screened on arrival.
“The individuals that are coming in at our 11 airports that are being funneled, we have very good information of their travel history, of their medical history. We’re not going to have that same set of fidelity for the individuals if this continues to grow at the southwest border,” he said.
Mr. Wolf also said the spread of the virus in Mexico creates new complications, after the U.S. has forced tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in that country while their cases are proceeding in American immigration courts.
Late last week a federal court issued a ruling that could result in thousands of them being admitted immediately.
The ruling was stayed, but Mr. Wolf said it could be a danger spot should the courts demand their entry.