Did the U.S. Department of Homeland Security say that they fear illegal border crossings may increase the spread of the novel coronavirus? No, that's not true: The headline of an article in The Washington Times is not supported by the reporting in the story. The article did not quote any official as saying any such fears exist.
Some 328 immigrants from China have been caught crossing the border illegally so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the U.S.-Mexico border.
Three other people from South Korea -- another country with rapidly spreading cases -- have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.
All told, more than 1,000 migrants a day are caught attempting to sneak in illegally from Mexico, which detected its first case last week, and since has identified five others.
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Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border.
The headline of the article is false. The story did not quote any DHS official - by name or anonymously - who said that immigrants who illegally cross the border may spread the novel coronavirus.
There was a vague reference to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf raising the issue of immigrants not arriving with their medical history, but that does not suggest they have the novel coronavirus. The newspaper quoted an anonymous official who mentioned the flu, but that is not the same medical issue as the novel coronavirus causing health and economic concerns globally.
On the contrary, the article quoted President Trump, who downplayed concerns about immigrants spreading the coronavirus:
President Trump last week had floated the possibility of closing border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico, though this week he downplayed that option, saying he didn't see the border as much of a vulnerability.
"We're not seeing a lot of evidence in that area," he said -- though he added, "We're closing it, I guess, automatically because we have a very strong border there now."
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes The Washington Times as:
A daily national newspaper owned by the Unification Church, publishing conservative news and commentary. The site has not corrected years-old false stories.
According to NewsGuard, the site can generally be trusted to maintain journalistic standards. Read their full assessment here.
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