The La Joya Police Department in southern Texas released a public health warning this week after members of the community claimed they had seen multiple “COVID-stricken migrants” eating at a local fast food restaurant.
A police officer reportedly approached the immigrant family, who subsequently told him they were released by federal agents because they likely had COVID-19.
“On July 26 the police department of the small town along the Rio Grande and Mexican border shared details of the incident. They said a concerned citizen at the restaurant waved down the officer. The citizen told him about the family ‘coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths and not wearing face masks.’ Whataburger management also told the officer that they wanted the group to leave as well due to ‘their disregard to other people’s health,’” reports CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
The family revealed that a charity group — Catholic Charities of The Rio Grande Valley, the officer later determined — paid for their room at the Texas Inn Hotel nearby. The officer further discovered that the charity had paid to temporarily house undocumented immigrants in all the hotel’s rooms.
The officer reported seeing 20 to 30 people, most of whom weren’t wearing masks, “out and about” at the hotel.
“We have been doing well as a community in slowing the spread of this deadly virus. But ill-conceived policies by both the federal and state governments are beginning to have serious consequences for Hidalgo County,” said county Judge Richard Cortez. “I call on federal immigration officials to stop releasing infected migrants into our community and am further calling on Governor Abbott to return to Hidalgo County the safety tools he took away that would help us slow the spread of this disease. This is unacceptable.”
Read the full report at CBS Dallas.