Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for Covid-19, canceling his plan to travel to Colombia with Sec. of State Antony Blinken.
“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for the COVID-19 virus after being tested as part of routine pre-travel protocols. Secretary Mayorkas knows only a slight congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will self-isolate and work from home according to CDC protocols and medical advice. Contact tracing is ongoing, ”DHS spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa said in a statement.
Blinken will now travel to Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday and Bogotá, Colombia without the DHS chief to meet with President Iván Duque and Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the fight against irregular migration and drug trafficking, among other priorities.
Mayorkas’ busy week was also to include a trip to Capitol Hill to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing.
The secretary attended an event with President Biden on Saturday to honor fallen law enforcement.
It’s unclear how much contact the two men had, but a photo shows Mayorkas standing next to Biden and First Lady Jill outside, all unmasked.
“To Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, thank you for being here and for the great job you do for us,” Biden said at the 40th annual peace officers memorial service on Capitol Hill. ‘Thank you so much. And it’s hard work.
Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for Covid-19, canceling his plan to travel to Colombia with Sec. State Antony Blinken
It is not known how closely the two men have been in contact, but a photo shows Mayorkas standing next to Biden and First Lady Jill outside, all unmasked
The diagnosis also marks the second time Blinken has narrowly dodged exposure to Covid-19 in recent weeks, as State Department spokesman Ned Price announced a positive test late last month. .
The trip to Colombia comes as tens of thousands of Haitian migrants pass through the South American nation as they make their way to the US-Mexico border.
A record number of Haitian migrants have come to the United States in the past month, and the trend does not seem to stop as more and more people continue to pour into the Colombian town of Necocli, a popular place for smugglers to guide people through the perilous Darien Gap in Panama.
The Darien Gap is a 66 mile stretch of rainforest between North and South America. Its dangerous terrain is part of the reason why it was not developed and why it poses such a great risk to people crossing it now.
More than 70,000 migrants have crossed the Darien Gap this year, Panamanian authorities said.
Most of the migrants in recent months have been Haitians, many of whom had lived in Chile and Brazil since the Haitian earthquake of 2010.
On Monday, GOP Representative Tony Gonzalez, Texas, said Panama’s Foreign Minister Erica Mouynes told him that up to 100,000 migrants had passed through his country on their way to the United States and that 52 of those they apprehended had links to al-Qaeda. .
The Biden administration, defeating the “inhumane” immigration policies of the Trump era, has placed the fight against root causes at the center of its immigration policy, blaming the weather factors linked to climate change, political instability and economic and crime that plagued Latin America and South America.