Retired acting ICE Director Tom Homan blasted President Joe Biden for leaving the southern border "wide open" for illegal immigrants while the administration keeps existing travel restrictions in place due to concerns over COVID-19.
During an interview on "Fox & Friends First" on Monday, Homan criticized the Biden administration for having "released hundreds of COVID-positive people into the interior."
"The northern border we have with Canada is still closed because of COVID and the southern border is wide open. And you're right, I mean, ICE already had 7,500 positive COVID cases run through their system. Right now, as we're speaking, they have nearly 1,200 active cases in custody right now that came across that border. And what really scares me is that nearly 300,000 got away this year," Homan said.
The White House announced Monday that existing coronavirus travel restrictions will remain in place because of surging COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.
"We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons. The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world. Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead," press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.
She said that the administration will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to "best protect the American people."
But critics like Homan say the administration's failure to secure the border risks letting unvaccinated, COVID-positive migrants into American communities where they might spread the virus.
Days ago, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings reported that immigration enforcement agents in his sector on the Texas-Mexico border took more than 15,000 illegal immigrants into custody in just one week. He said border agents have seen a 900% increase in positive COVID-19 cases among those being detained.
On top of that, many migrants intercepted by U.S. border agents are not being tested for COVID. The New York Times reported in April that Border Patrol "is conducting no testing for the coronavirus during the several days that the newly arrived migrants are in U.S. custody except in cases where migrants show obvious symptoms."
A record surge of migrants is stretching resources thin and the administration said it has insufficient time and space to test every single migrant upon arrival.
Complicating matters, Homan pointed out there's no way of knowing if migrants who've evaded apprehension are carrying COVID.
"Those who escaped border apprehension, how many of them had COVID? And we already know the U.S. government on purpose has released hundreds of COVID-positive people into the interior by either a bus ticket or a plane ticket and release them into the United States," he said.
"This is simply incompetence at the highest level. At the same time, they're talking about Americans masking up. They're talking about door-to-door vaccinations, the U.S. citizens being held accountable to COVID but the southwest border is wide open."