Nearly 300 Homeland Security employees have confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 8,500 have been quarantined at a time when the agency is needed to combat the highly contagious disease.
An internal Homeland Security report obtained by the Los Angeles Times identifies 292 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 8,524 who are under quarantine.
Homeland Security plays a critical role in combating the virus, with departments such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“These numbers underscore the risks that the men and women at DHS are taking every day to protect public safety,” John Sandweg, former acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the Obama administration, said. “Measures can and should be taken to protect the workforce, including limiting operations to only those that are only mission critical to protect national security and public safety.”
The union that represents Border Patrol employees said the Trump administration is “exposing them to dangers that are unnecessary.”
“I don’t think the agency is doing enough to protect agents or individuals we come in contact with, period,” said Brandon Judd, president of the union.
Judd said six Border Patrol agents have confirmed infections and an addition 42 have been quarantined.