Yuma Sector Border Patrol has been providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for its employees and detainees, although they’re keeping few people in their facility while the COVID-19 pandemic goes on.
Yuma Sector spokesperson Jose Garibay said that agents are providing masks and gloves to people they apprehend and sanitizing their facilities, and Border Patrol is holding a maximum of 10 people at a time.
Garibay said Border Patrol can keep the number of people in detention low by streamlining the deportation process with a federal law called Title 42. The law also allows agents to send all undocumented immigrants they apprehend to Mexico.
“Title 42 allows us to return illegal aliens to their country of last transit, which is Mexico the vast majority of the time,” he said. “If we are not able to return them to Mexico, we will work with our interagency partners to secure expulsion to the person’s country of origin.”
Title 42 in US federal code contains public health laws, and Garibay said it helps Border Patrol keep the number of people in their custody low. Border Patrol has also been making dramatically fewer apprehensions recently compared to last year, he added.
Customs and Border Protection-Arizona Spokesperson Rob Daniels said Border Patrol, along with all CBP front line personnel, have PPE and have been instructed on how to minimize the risk of spread.
“CBP took early action to ensure that all sectors and field offices have a ready supply of (PPE),” Daniels said. “Including nitrile gloves, N95 respirators, eye protection and disposable outer garments.”
Daniels said CBP also gave comprehensive guidance to front line personnel like Border Patrol agents and officers at the San Luis port of entry on what to do in the case of exposure, and CBP employees have access to up-to-date information and know if there’s been an exposure where they work.