Biden Ends Plasma-for-Cash Among Non-immigrant Visa Holders

Dr. Paul Camacho holds up a bag of plasma donated by COVID-19 survivor Sandra Rodrigo at the Hemocentro blood bank in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, June 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
AP Photo/Juan Karita

The Biden Administration will prohibit donations of plasma by B-1/B-2 visa holders along the U.S.-Mexico Border. The Tuesday ruling could result in plasma and blood shortages affecting domestic and global supplies. Violating the prohibition will result in the cancellation of a guest visa.

Historically, plasma donations from non-immigrant visa holders have sat in a bureaucratic grey area without any prior enforcement standards. In border cities from California to Texas, donation centers are prominently located within walking distances from ports of entry.

The centers rely almost exclusively on legal border crossers. Donors can earn up to $800 a month. Compared to the minimum wage in Mexico, the trades are enticing. Border crossers can be seen flocking to donation centers daily to augment incomes.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson issued the following statement to Breitbart Texas on Tuesday:

Effective immediately, U.S. Customs and Border Protection advises that donation of plasma for compensation in the U.S. by B1/B2 non-immigrant visa holders is a violation of the terms of their visa and crossing the border for that express purpose will no longer be permitted under any circumstances.

Selling plasma constitutes labor for hire in violation of B-1 non-immigrant status, as both the labor (the taking of the plasma) and accrual of profits would occur in the U.S., with no principal place of business in the foreign country.

This does not affect the ability of non-immigrant visa holders to receive medical treatment in the U.S. or to make a true donation of blood, tissue or an organ without receiving compensation.

In Eagle Pass, Texas, two donation centers, operated by the Grifols Corporation and Green Cross, rely almost exclusively on border crossers for supplies. Donated plasma is used to treat immune deficiencies, blood disorders, and more recently, antibody therapies in some cases for COVID-19.

The border area plasma centers along the U.S. Southwestern Border are some of the most productive among industrialized nations.

Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas spoke with Breitbart Texas about the decision.

“I’m not happy at all and intend to reach out to our congressman to address this decision–the plasma donation centers employ nearly 100 Eagle Pass residents.” He says the border crossers pay bridge fees and support downtown businesses before returning to Mexico.

He added, “Our two donation centers rely almost entirely on the border crossers to remain viable; I fear layoffs for our residents.”

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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