The Trump administration has planned to immediately turn back all asylum seekers and other foreigners attempting to enter the United States from Mexico illegally.
President Trump decried that the nation cannot risk allowing the coronavirus to spread through detention facilities and border patrol agents, four administration officials said.
The administration officials said the ports of entry would remain open to American citizens, green-card holders and foreigners with proper documentation.
Some foreigners would be blocked, including Europeans currently subject to earlier travel restrictions imposed by the administration. The points of entry will also be open to commercial traffic.
According to the New York Times, the administration officials said the ports of entry would remain open to American citizens and green-card holders, along with Mexicans who have documents allowing them to visit. Commercial traffic will be allowed through as well.
But under the new rule, set to be announced in the next 48 hours, border patrol agents would immediately return anyone to Mexico — without any detainment and without any due process — who attempts to cross the southwestern border between the legal ports of entry. They would not be held for any length of time in an American facility.
Although they advised that details could change before the announcement, administration officials said the measure was needed to avert what they fear could be a systemwide outbreak of the coronavirus inside detention facilities along the border.
Such an outbreak could spread quickly through the immigrant population and could infect large numbers of border patrol agents, leaving the southwestern border defences weakened, the officials argued.