Even amid renewed worry about the spread of COVID-19, President Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be jumping to slow migration at the U.S.–Mexico border, which has been surging since he took the White House in January.
Now, one Democratic congressman who represents border communities is calling on the Biden administration to place a “pause” on new migration, Fox News reports, citing concerns about many migrants being untested and unvaccinated for the coronavirus.
“It’s not fair”
Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar’s admonition of the Biden administration over its rather lax border enforcement policies came during an appearance Wednesday on Fox’s Your World with guest host Charles Payne.
“When Border Patrol drops folks off at a charity, the charity gets overloaded and then they drop [the migrants] off at a hotel without telling the local officials,” the congressman said, according to Fox. “That’s not right. The charity needs to tell the local officials, especially if there are COVID-positive.”
Cuellar also said “it’s not fair” to “local communities” that “people being released there that might have COVID-19.”
“We need to just make sure that we communicate with each other… What I’m asking of the Biden administration is to do a pause,” the congressman said.
“Do a pause,” he insisted. “They need to prioritize border communities, they need to prioritize the men and women of DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. They need to prioritize our border communities and DHS.”
“A green light”
To be sure, not everybody who arrives at the southern border is being allowed entry; the Title 42 public health order first implemented under former President Donald Trump and continued under Biden allows for the immediate expulsion of new arrivals due to concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus. (NBC News reports that there are plans to scrap the rule in the near future, however.)
In his Fox interview, Cuellar said he’s urged the White House to “publicize and show images of people” currently “being deported” under Title 42, which the congressman said he supports, according to CNS News.
“Because I ask you, Charles, have you seen one single picture of somebody being deported? No, I haven’t seen one,” Cuellar said. “I see people coming in, but we’re not showing people being deported.”
He went on: “And you have to do that. If you don’t have any consequences, then there’s a green light. And I emphasize, there’s a green light for people who come in.”
Asked if he thought his consistent message about the border was reaching Biden’s White House, Cuellar was “diplomatic,” in his words. “The career people at DHS get it. They get it. In fact, when I speak, they have told me privately, ‘thank you for having our backs.’ The career people at DHS, they get it,” he said, adding:
The political appointees are a different thing, but they need to understand they need to have the back of the men and women from DHS. They certainly need to take care of our border communities. Prioritize them, please.