AUSTIN, Texas — The city of Laredo, Texas, has refused to take in migrants who have been bused in from elsewhere on the border after discovering 40% of them tested positive for the coronavirus, according to two local government officials.
“That was very high,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said in an interview, referring to the infection rate among migrants dropped off by the Border Patrol last week. Laredo health authority, Dr. Victor Trevino, confirmed the numbers.
The 40% infection rate is the highest known positivity rate along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, McAllen, Texas, reported a 15% positivity rate among migrants released from custody.
Concerned that migrants arriving in Laredo would further strain hospital resources, Laredo officials contracted private bus companies to transport migrants arriving from the Rio Grande Valley to larger cities across the state. By not admitting migrants on the McAllen buses, the city is not required to test them for the coronavirus and could forward the families elsewhere. Those who test positive cannot travel and must be quarantined for 10 days, a situation Saenz wanted to evade to avoid migrant overflow.