Arrest of an Eritrean Migrant at US Texas Border Triggers Ebola Concern


by ILDEFONSO ORTIZ | |  9 Oct 2014

MCALLEN Texas — The detention of an illegal alien from the African country of Eritrea caused concern Wednesday night at the U.S. Border Patrol Station because the agents did not have the training to determine if the man posed a health risk amid the recent concerns for Ebola.

The arrest took place Wednesday night when agents arrested the man and took him to the McAllen Border Patrol Station which is where agents became concerned about how to deal with the possibility of a communicable disease, sources close to the case told Breitbart Texas.

The man didn’t exhibit any symptoms however the concerns come after Thomas Eric Duncan died from Ebola he contracted in Liberia before traveling to Dallas.
In the case of the Eritrean man, questions remain about what route he took to get to the U.S. which in a worst case scenario that he had in fact been infected could have led to contaminating other aliens along the way, said Albert Spratte a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council 3307.

“The concern is real, they don’t give us any training in how to deal with communicable diseases,” Spratte said.  “What happens if you have another person coming from an African nation who is infected by a dangerous disease, who did they infect at the stash houses or other people they came in contact with along the way?” 

Currently, any medical issues or questions are brought up at the processing station which is already too late since any sick person could have been in contact with other aliens or agents, the union spokesman said.

”CBP and DHS have not provided the agents on the ground any training about how to deal with this,” Spratte said. “This is not something that they can teach with a PowerPoint presentation. The fact that an arrest caused a scare at the station should say something.” 

Border Agents Catch East African Man Trying to Sneak Into U.S. — Why It’s Scaring Them in Light of the Ebola Outbreak

Sara Carter | | Oct. 9, 2014   

U.S. Border Patrol agents say an incident along the Texas-Mexico border Wednesday night is a clear warning that they are not prepared to deal with the threat of people infected with Ebola and other communicable diseases trying to cross into the United States.

Agents in the Rio Grande Valley border sector apprehended a man from the eastern African nation of Eritrea who was trying to cross illegally into the U.S.

Agents told TheBlaze it isn’t the first time they’ve apprehended someone from Africa or “special interest aliens” – persons from nations with known terrorist ties – trying to cross the border. But in this case, the potential for disease, not terrorism, was their primary concern.

There have been no reported cases of Ebola virus in Eritrea; the outbreak has been limited to the West Africa countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, with individual cases diagnosed in Spain and the United States.

But Border Patrol agents with knowledge of the man’s apprehension told TheBlaze the case illustrates a major problem: There are no real protocols in place to handle people at the border coming from nations dealing with Ebola or outbreaks of other infectious diseases.

Albert Spratte, a Border Patrol agent and union representative with the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley sector, said there is enormous concern among agents about the lack of information and education regarding the Ebola crisis.

“We just don’t have the training to respond,” Spratte told TheBlaze. “I got messages from guys who were scared because a guy from Africa had been apprehended and he was being brought into the station. These agents said that they were not being told what was going on.”

“We saw how long it took DHS and HHS to respond to the scabies and other health issues,” Spratte said. “Did they train up or come up with a plan to respond to this? I don’t know.”

The Obama administration on Wednesday announced plans to expand Ebola screenings of incoming passengers to five major U.S. airports. There have been no similar measures taken on the southern border, which has Border Patrol agents on edge.

“Part of dealing with the Ebola or communicable diseases is information, and we on the ground level are not getting any,” Spratte said.

“We simply are not equipped to handle it.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told TheBlaze it’s another instance of the federal government ignoring the ongoing problems on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Foreign nationals from all over the world know that the way to enter the U.S. illegally is through the southern border. DHS’ own figures support that fact. But they won’t discuss those figures, because they show just how vulnerable the border truly is,” Hunter said.

For Border Patrol agents, Wednesday night’s incident serves as a clear warning that they could soon be in real danger.

“I can’t imagine what will happen when we get a real case of Ebola,” Spratte said. “We simply are not equipped to handle it. I have had to talk to my wife that if something weird happens at work, I may need to stay away from the house for weeks instead of risking the spread of something at home. DHS or CBP needs to do more to inform both the agents and the public.”


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