Border Patrol agents of Del Rio, Texas, have apprehended more than 1,100 migrants from over 19 African countries since May 30, presenting unique challenges for border security after the World Health Organization declared Ebola a global emergency days ago.
The trend of African migrants crossing the border first emerged in late May after buses of hundreds of Congolese migrants were dumped in San Antonio, Texas, without warning.
“The apprehension of people from African countries illegally crossing our borders continues to increase,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a written statement Friday.
“Our agents this year have encountered people from 51 countries other than Mexico including 19 countries from the continent of Africa.”
The figures come just days after WHO declared the African-borne Ebola virus a global health emergency after an outbreak was reported in a Congo town bordering Rwanda.
The WHO defines a global emergency as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.”
As we reported, no screening procedures were in place when the Congolese migrants were dropped off in San Antonio as they entered the country illegally across the Rio Grande.
The WHO concluded last month that 1 in 4 Ebola cases in the Congo are going undetected, as the country experiences the second worst epidemic on record with 1,600 dead.