Reports: CDC Health Officials Resisted Disease Closure of U.S.-Mexican Border

TOPSHOT - US Customs officers stand beside a sign saying that the US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario, on March 22, 2020. - The United States agreed with Mexico and Canada to restrict non-essential travel because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak and is planning to …
LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to order uncooperative federal healthcare managers to shut the U.S.-Mexican border during the coronavirus crisis, according to reports.

The managers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “who raised objections didn’t change their assessment of the border policy even as Covid spread rapidly across Latin America,” according to an October 3 Wall Street Journal report, which cited an “administration official familiar with their thinking.”

The WSJ report continued:

In February and March, CDC officials advising Dr. [CDC director Robert] Redfield told him that they believed the [border closure] order was a backdoor effort to achieve the administration’s goal of cracking down on illegal immigration, according to multiple officials involved in the discussions. At least one senior CDC official made it clear to Dr. Redfield that the official and his peers couldn’t support the policy’s enactment, according to people familiar with their conversation.

The idea was escalated by Mr. [Stephen] Miller and Ken Cuccinelli, the No. 2 official at DHS, to the White House coronavirus task force, where they championed it as a way of protecting border agents who would come into contact with potentially sick migrants, several people familiar with the meetings said.

The policy has proved very successful, excluding roughly 150,000 poor economic migrants from U.S. workplaces, housing, and schools, and also deterring many additional migrants. The policy protected border agents and their facilities from the coronavirus disease and also has temporarily blocked the federal-aided migration of youths and children from Latin American to their illegal-migrant parents in many U.S. cities and towns.

The Associated Press reported October 3:

Vice President Mike Pence in March directed the nation’s top disease control agency [in early March] to use its [Title 42] emergency powers to effectively seal the U.S. borders, overruling the agency’s scientists who said there was no evidence the action would slow the coronavirus, according to two former health officials. The action has so far caused nearly 150,000 children and adults to be expelled from the country.

The top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor who oversees these types of orders had refused to comply with a Trump administration directive saying there was no valid public health reason to issue it, according to three people with direct knowledge of the doctor’s refusal.

Also on the phone call were Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Redfield immediately ordered his senior staff to get it done, according to a former CDC official who was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The WSJ noted that Pence’s spokeswoman said the report was false. “Vice President Pence never directed the CDC on this issue,” she said in an email to the WSJ.

The phrase “with direct knowledge of the doctor’s refusal” suggests the claim came from people very close to CDC director Redfield. The reports are likely based on testimony collected for the pending lawsuit against the border protections by the pro-migration ACLU.

Trump’s legal reforms and maneuvers — plus his border wall — have largely stopped the northward flow of migrants into blue-collar jobs, much to the frustration of business groups and left-wing elites. But Trump has only trimmed the legal inflow of white-collar migrants imported for high-paying jobs throughout the United States.

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