BY ZACHARY STIEBER | The Epoch Times
The immigrants were handed over to the Catholic Charities
of The Rio Grande Valley, which arranged for their stay in a La Joya, Texas,
hotel that it had rented out entirely, La Joya police officials said.
“We did not know this. No one told the city of La Joya.
No one told the police department that these people were here. And no one told
us that these people were possibly ill,” La Joya Sgt. Manuel Casas told
reporters at a July 27 press conference.
The situation came to light on July 26, after a concerned
citizen reported to a police officer that she saw members of a family who were
coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths at a Whataburger location,
and they weren’t wearing masks. Management at the restaurant where the incident
was reported said they wanted the family to leave because they were
disregarding other people’s health.
The officer went to the family, who told the officer they
had been apprehended by Border Patrol agents just days before, but were
released because they had COVID-19. The family was being housed at the Texas
Inn Hotel, which authorities later learned had been completely booked to house
“The information we have is that everybody that is
staying in that hotel is COVID-19 positive,” Casas said.
Officers later witnessed a group of 20 to 30 people
staying at the hotel outside. Most of them weren’t wearing masks.
Officers also later learned that the illegal immigrants
being detained by Border Patrol were given over to the nonprofit to be placed
in hotels in the La Joya and McAllen, Texas, areas.
“We have been doing well as a community in slowing the
spread of this deadly virus. But ill-conceived policies by both the federal and
state governments are beginning to have serious consequences on Hildago County.
I call on federal immigration officials to stop releasing infected migrants
into our community,” Richard Cortez, the county judge, said in a statement.
A Catholic Charities of The Rio Grande Valley
representative didn’t return a request for comment by press time.
The charity’s executive director, Sister Norma
Pimentel, told Border Report that the group has
been helping house COVID-positive immigrants in hotels. Pimentel said that a
security guard is now at the La Joya hotel to keep the immigrants inside.
A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection told The
Epoch Times via email that the agency in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector
“continues to encounter significant numbers of undocumented migrants crossing
Undocumented migrants is a term for illegal aliens.
“RGV continues to expel individuals under Title 42
authorities as part of COVID mitigation efforts and utilizes pathways under
Title 8 proceedings to remove those amenable to their home countries,” the spokesperson
wrote. “During these challenging times, our federal, state, and local
partnerships are indispensable as we work to secure our borders and to quickly
move individuals out of USBP custody and through the appropriate immigration
Border agents in the Rio Grande Valley apprehended more
than 20,000 illegal immigrants in a single week this month,
part of a dramatic rise in apprehensions seen during President Joe Biden’s
Texas authorities have begun taking matters into their
own hands, arresting immigrants on trespassing charges.
The city of Laredo, Texas, sued the Biden administration last week in
a bid to stop the transfer of thousands of illegal immigrants from among
those apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio to the city.