White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki avoided answering a question about the surge of COVID-19 cases at the U.S.-Mexico border by claiming that people simply needed a better “understanding of what actually happens when people come across the border.”
“About public health at the border, is the president concerned that migrants who are coming in great numbers are not being tested for COVID at their first point of contact with Border Patrol?” Fox News’s Peter Doocy asked during Monday’s White House press briefing.
Instead of answering Doocy’s question about swarms of virus transmission, Psaki instead listed off all of the things she believes the Biden administration is doing to prevent the spread of the virus between illegal aliens who are crossing the border in record numbers.
“Those who can’t be expelled are often placed, and this is I think goes to your question, in alternative detention programs while their cases are being reviewed,” Psaki claimed. “CBP provides migrants with PPE from the moment they are taken into custody and migrants are required to keep masks on at all times, including when they are transferred or in the process of being released. Our other protocol is if anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody they’re referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, isolation, and treatment.”
Doocy to Psaki: "About public health at the border, is the president concerned that migrants who are coming in in great numbers are not being tested for Covid at their first point of contact with border patrol?"
Psaki says he needs more "understanding" of how apprehensions work pic.twitter.com/sDsmoWhyQP
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 2, 2021
Psaki’s confidence in the Biden administration’s process, however, doesn’t perfectly line up with reports from the border.
NEW: This is the largest group of migrants we’ve ever seen being held by Border Patrol under Anzalduas Bridge in Mission, TX. Looks like it could be up to 1,000 people. We can only get a look at the area with our drone. There’s a popular Rio Grande crossing area nearby. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/AsAygsO966
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) August 1, 2021
Just this week, a top Border Patrol union official said agents are letting illegal aliens who tested positive for the virus into the U.S. “day in, day out.”
“Not everyone we encounter we test, only those that exhibit some type of symptoms and not everybody has symptoms that has it,” Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Chris Cabrera said. “We’re releasing people out of the door day in and day out with actual positive tests for COVID and more keep popping up.”
Just two weeks ago, COVID-19 cases among apprehended migrants in the Rio Grande Valley jumped 900 percent over the last 14 months. The rapid increase in migrants who are testing positive, Cabrera said is affecting border patrol agents’ ability to stay healthy and do their jobs.
“We have a lot of agents quarantined right now, which adds to our problem, on top of agents who are sick with COVID, so we’re concerned about catching it ourselves, we’re concerned about our families and coworkers and it just seems everyone’s turning a blind eye to it when we have a real situation down here,” Cabrera said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last week to address the “rise in COVID-19 among unlawful migrants” in the state. Biden’s DOJ, however, says the order is unlawful and told him to rescind it.
The rise in unlawful border crossings has led to a dramatic rise in #COVID19 among unlawful migrants in Texas.
This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in Texas by reducing the transportation of migrants throughout our state. https://t.co/ThYNLricNA
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) July 28, 2021