WASHINGTON — U.S. government officials are concerned that dual U.S.-Mexico citizens may flee to the United States if the coronavirus outbreak in Mexico gets worse, putting more stress on U.S. hospitals, especially near the border, three officials familiar with the matter said.
The worries, which have not been previously reported, come as hospitals in the San Diego area in southern California have pressed the Trump administration to do more to limit the threat of the virus crossing into the United States.
While senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have expressed their concerns about dual nationals in daily departmental calls, there are no plans at present to bar entry to them or make other changes to border operations, according to a senior DHS official, who like others requested anonymity to discuss the matter.
“I don’t think there is any interest in telling American citizens that they can’t come in,” the official said.
The issue has come up in discussions about a potential surge of migrants if Mexico’s economy worsens or the outbreak overwhelms health facilities there, according to the sources.
President Donald Trump has suspended non-essential travel across the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico, saying the restrictions are necessary to protect the United States.
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