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WASHINGTON D.C.: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressed shock at the recent spike in Delta variant COVID-19 cases among migrants at the U.S. border.

During a speech on Monday at the Migration Policy Institute’s annual immigration law and policy conference in Washington, he said, “I did not expect to be, in late September, where we are.”

After refusing for months to talk about the risk to border communities posed by infected migrants who are released into the U.S., Mayorkas, who has been in his position since January, said more than 20 percent of migrants are infected with the disease.

“We are confronted with a population of people that, in general, have a rate of illness of approximately 20 percent. When one is speaking of 7,000 or 7,500 people encountered at the border every day, if one takes a look at that system, it is not built for that in a COVID environment, where isolation is required,” he added.

The number of people being released into the U.S. each month has not been announced by the Biden administration.

More than 200,000 people were seen attempting to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico in August, among the highest numbers in 20 years.