Feds stop processing migrants at Texas border center after 32 test positive for flu

ANNE FLAHERTY
Feds stop processing migrants at Texas border center after 32 test positive for flu

Feds stop processing migrants at Texas border center after 32 test positive for flu originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection briefly stopped taking in undocumented migrants at a border processing center in McAllen, Texas, after 32 people being held there tested positive for the flu.

The center is one of the busiest spots along the Mexico border and a short drive to a Border Patrol station where a 16-year-old boy died earlier this week.

PHOTO: Migrants wait outside a makeshift encampment at the U.S. Border Patrol facility in McAllen, located close to the Central Processing Center where a suspected flu outbreak has prompted officials to stop processing, in McAllen, Texas, May 15, 2019. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

(MORE: 3rd migrant minor dies in a month after being apprehended at US-Mexico border)

An agency official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the center was expected to reopen soon. The agency said medical staff were on hand to treat people who were ill.

The agency had announced late Tuesday that the Rio Grande Valley Sector had temporarily suspended "intake operations" at the McAllen Central Processing Center.

"Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved," the agency added.

PHOTO: At a nearby facility to the Central Processing Center where a suspected flu outbreak has prompted officials to stop processing, migrants look out from a makeshift encampment at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in McAllen, Texas, May 15, 2019. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

An earlier proposal to fly migrants to U.S. border stations in coastal or northern states, including Florida, in a bid to lessen the burden at sites like McAllen was scrapped last week after the White House intervened and President Donald Trump declared via Twitter that no more undocumented migrants would be allowed past the southern border. The law requires that border authorities process migrants seeking asylum, and a federal judge has limited detention for children.

(MORE: Proposal to fly migrants to Florida, other states scrapped after Trump intervenes)

PHOTO: At a nearby facility to the Central Processing Center where a suspected flu outbreak has prompted officials to stop processing, migrants look out from a makeshift encampment at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station in McAllen, Texas, May 15, 2019. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Border officials say the goal is to move people out of its care within 72 hours. Adults are referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for detention, while minors are sent to Department of Health and Human Services, which relies on privately run children's shelters. Families are typically released with a notice to appear at a later date in court.

The latest death of a child in custody was a teen who appears to have been traveling without his parents and had been waiting for a week in CBP custody to get picked up by HHS -- well past the 72-hour rule. CBP said he was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol station outside of McAllen, Texas, when he was found unresponsive on Monday.

He was the third migrant minor to have spent time in U.S. custody in the past month, and the fifth child to die in six months.

(MORE: Dems call for investigation after migrant teen dies in US custody)

PHOTO: Inside the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas on May 23, 2018. (US Customs and Border Protection/via AFP/Getty Images, FILE)

Democrats, who identified the teen as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, have already called for an investigation.

CBP says it averages soem 69 trips to the hospital a day since mid December with more than 14,000 people taken to the hospital this year.