/ Modified apr 3, 2020 1:19 p.m.

Border Patrol expelling migrants to minimize virus exposure

The agency has returned to a deportation policy not seen in the Southwest in nearly 20 years.

The U.S. Border Patrol in Arizona has returned to a deportation policy not seen in the Southwest in nearly 20 years. It’s an operation conducted to stem the coronavirus.

The Border Patrol and Homeland Security Department spent years creating a prosecution infrastructure designed to punish people who crossed the border illegally. Now with agents trying to minimize risk from the coronavirus, the agency has turned back to fast deportations rather than incarceration for those it arrests.

Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Hernandez spoke about the process via conference call Thursday.

"It could be a matter of minutes."

Migrants are fitted with masks, then background checked in the field and then, if they’re from Mexico or the northern triangle, promptly taken back to a port of entry and deported.

Border Patrol officials said they didn’t know how many people have so far been deported through the program or whether any had been carrying the virus.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona