Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Susan Collins has released the following statement on news reports that a Mexican national, who is infected with a highly contagious form of Tuberculosis, crossed the U.S. border multiple times and took a number of flights:
“This troubling incident appears to be another outrageous failure of a border security system that is struggling to keep pace with modern threats.
“In May, we learned of the DHS’s failure to detect and detain Andrew Speaker, a man with a drug-resistant, highly contagious form of Tuberculosis who boarded an international flight out of the U.S. and later crossed the Canadian border by land to reenter our country. Now, it appears that a Mexican national infected with a similar form of contagious Tuberculosis was able to cross the U.S. border 76 times undetected, including over a seven week period after federal government officials had been warned about this individual.
“It is disturbing that DHS does not have better systems in place for collecting, disseminating, and acting on such information. Following the incident with Mr. Speaker, DHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) instituted a formal Memorandum of Understanding to govern information sharing. Either that new procedure was not yet in place at the time of this incident or those changes were inadequate. DHS and the CDC must investigate and take corrective action to ensure that the technology, procedures, and training are in place to prevent incidents like these in the future.”
Senator Collins has requested that her staff be briefed by DHS on this matter later today.