Tags: Coronavirus | Immigration | Latin America | coronavirus | covid19 | borders | asylum

DHS Considers Turning Back Asylum-Seekers to Stem Virus

a man pushing a baby and woman with him both wear masks as they seek asylum on u.s./mexico border
Asylum seekers wearing protective masks walk towards their appointment with US authorities at El Chaparral crossing port on the US/Mexico Border in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on February 29, 2020. (Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 March 2020 09:48 PM

The Department of Homeland Security is looking into a plan to turn back asylum-seekers and those who have crossed the border illegally as part of the nation's effort to curb the coronavirus.

The plan is still being worked on and will need more development before being shown to President Donald Trump for approval, according to Fox News.

"President Trump is 100% committed to protecting the American people from coronavirus and all options are on the table," a DHS spokesman told Fox, who added the president is authorized to do whatever necessary to protect the American public from the deadly virus that has killed thousands worldwide.

NBC News reported that a senior White House official said the plan is being explored because of fears of a mass migration from Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador once the virus begins to strike there.

One consideration, according to the official, is invoking a portion of the federal legal code (42 USC 265) giving the U.S. surgeon general "the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger, and for such period of time as he may deem necessary for such purpose."

The plan would apply to the northern and southern borders, according to the official.

A decision is expected within 48 hours, the official told NBC.

Trump shut down U.S. travel from China, the early epicenter of the virus, now named COVID-19, and since expanded the order to most of Europe, which is currently being ravaged by the pandemic.

The European Union and Canada also have closed their borders to help prevent spread of the virus which still has no vaccine and no cure. Though the majority of patients have mild symptoms, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible.

The U.S. death toll topped 100 on Tuesday and is expected to go into the thousands if not hundreds of thousands.

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended no public gatherings of more that 10 people and "social distancing" is urged for those who do venture out in public. That means maintaining a distance of six feet apart.

That has resulted in people working from home when possible, school shutdowns throughout the country and religious services moving online. Restaurants have cut down on tables or making take-out and delivery only.

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NBC News reported that a senior White House official said the plan is being explored because of fears of a mass migration from Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador once the virus begins to strike there.
coronavirus, covid19, borders, asylum, stem, dhs
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2020-48-17
Tuesday, 17 March 2020 09:48 PM
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