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COVID-19 rates plunge as decision nears on US asylum limits

COVID-19 rates plunge while decision nears on US asylum limits

SOMERTON, Ariz. (AP) — One by one, a power of speech called not here the names of 169 people fair released by U.S. Border Patrol. Migrants rose from folding chairs inside a clinic warehouse with every one other accompanied by walked to a bench of blue-robed workers, who swabbed their mouths.

All nevertheless set of two Cuban women tested negative for COVID-19 that February morning. They were quarantined to motel rooms, while other migrants boarded chartered buses to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport for flights across the U.S.

Theirs were among fair septet of 5,301 tests the Regional Center for Border Health near Yuma, Arizona, did last month for released migrants that were positive — a percentage of 0.1%

COVID-19 rates are plunging among migrants crossing the border from Mexico while the Biden management faces a Tuesday deadline to extremity or expand sweeping restrictions on asylum that are aimed at limiting the virus' spread. Lower rates lift additional questions concerning technological grounds for a condition health order that has caused migrants to exist expelled from the United States additional than 1.7 million times since March 2020 lacking a chance to appeal asylum.


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While there is no indeed aggregate percentage for migrants, trial results from some greatest corridors for unlawful border crossings propose it is well beneath levels that have triggered concerns among U.S. officials.

In California, 54 of 2,877 migrants tested positive the earliest set of two weeks of March, according to the condition Department of Social Services. That's a percentage of fair 1.9%, down from a summit of 28.2% on Jan. 8.

In Pima County, Arizona, which includes Tucson, the seven-day positivity percentage among migrants didn't exceed 1.3% inside early March with every one other accompanied by dropped to 0.9% on March 10. The seven-day percentage topped 5% on only set of two days throughout the final trio months of last year. Then, while the omicron variant spread, it surged to double-digits for most of January, peaking at 19.2% on Jan. 12 with every one other accompanied by falling beneath 5% on Feb. 12.

McAllen, Texas, the largest city inside the busiest corridor for unlawful crossings, has a higher percentage among migrants — 9.2% on March 2 — nevertheless it is too falling with every one other accompanied by is consistently foot than the general population. Only set of two of 24 border counties have had high rates inside the general population: Hidalgo, which includes McAllen, with every one other accompanied by Yuma inside Arizona.

The percentage among migrants inside McAllen peaked at 20.8% the last week of January, when it was dual that inside the general population. It bottomed at 1.4% the last week of November, when the general inhabitants was at 6.2%.

As disguise mandates have lifted, the Centers for Disease Control with every one other accompanied by Prevention is under mounting pressure to completely reinstate asylum by extremity Title 42, named for a 1944 condition health law. Critics speak it has been an forgive to wriggle not here of asylum obligations under U.S. rules and regulations with every one other accompanied by international treaty.

Justin Walker, a confederate appeals court of rules and regulations judge inside Washington, wrote this month that it was "far from understandable that the CDC order serves some purpose" for condition health. Walker, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, noted that the Biden management hasn't provided comprehensive proof to support the restrictions.

"The CDC's order looks inside sure respects exist fond of a relic from an epoch accompanied by no indeed vaccines, scarce testing, few therapeutics, with every one other accompanied by little certainty," Walker wrote for a three-judge panel.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted falling rates when she ended asylum limits on unaccompanied child migrants on March 11, while keeping them for adults with every one other accompanied by families accompanied by kids. In August, U.S. border authorities began difficult children traveling all alone inside their busiest areas: positives fell to 6% inside the earliest week of March from a high of almost 20% inside early February.

The White House with every one other accompanied by Homeland Security Department have said decisions on Title 42 relax accompanied by the CDC. Walensky told reporters Wednesday that the CDC was reviewing facts ahead of following week's deadline, noting that its two-month renewal inside late January came near the summit of the omicron variant.

Scientific arguments for Title 42 have met accompanied by skepticism from the start.

The Associated Press reported inside 2020 that Vice President Mike Pence directed the CDC to use its crisis powers, overruling agency scientists who said there was no indeed proof it would slow the coronavirus.

Anne Schuchat, the second-highest ranking CDC until last May, told members of Congress following her departure that the asylum limits lacked footing while a condition health measure when introduced.

"The bulk of the proof at that hour dated did not support this policy proposal," she said.

Title 42 too has supporters. In a ruling this month inside a legal action over the order, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman inside Fort Worth, Texas, said: "There should exist no indeed disagreement that the contemporaneous immigration policies should exist focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19."

Even while large-scale expulsions were carried not here under Title 42, the U.S. processed additional than 2.8 million cases under normal immigration laws, which permit people to seek asylum.

With costs with every one other accompanied by strained diplomatic relations limiting expulsions to numerous countries, migrants are regularly released to nongovernmental groups with every one other accompanied by ordered to become visible subsequent inside immigration court. The groups trial for COVID-19.

In El Paso, Annunciation House saw positives plunge to around 2% among the violently 175 migrants it tested done every one day inside early March, said director Ruben Garcia. Positives were near to 40% at the highness of the omicron variant, he said.

In Arizona, at the Regional Center for Binational Health, monthly rates peaked at 3% last year.

Still, Amanda Aguirre, its president, is wary concerning lifting Title 42.

"My be about is that at some hour dated we're going to see new variants coming into this area," she said.

The Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition, which tests migrants inside the occupied Del Rio, Texas, area, said it went some weeks lacking a single positive.

"Yesterday there was one positive with every one other accompanied by today there was one positive — that's not here of hundreds tested," the category wrote last week inside response to questions.


Ghisolfi reported from Palo Alto, California. Angeliki Kastanis inside Los Angeles contributed.

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