White House’s Psaki Dodges on Whether Migrants Streaming Across Border Should Be Tested for Coronavirus

White House

White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions Thursday when asked about whether President Joe Biden’s administration supported coronavirus testing of migrants entering the United States through the Southern border.

When Breitbart News asked Psaki if the Biden administration supported mandatory testing for migrants entering the United States, Psaki dodged and instead referred the question to the Department of Homeland Security.

“I would send you to them to give more outlines of the numbers and the specifics of what actions are taken at the border, and I am sure they are happy to answer your questions,” Psaki said, dodging the question.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a subsequent request from Breitbart News for comment.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Thursday pressed the Biden administration for allowing unvaccinated and untested migrants into the country. He wrote in a letter:

Your administration is enforcing pandemic-related restrictions on air travel into the United States, and is reportedly even considering requiring testing for American citizens before boarding domestic flights. Yet at our southern border you are giving illegal aliens a free pass to enter the United States without testing.

The letter from Cotton to Biden was also signed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

In the letter to Biden, Cotton and the GOP senators noted that the vast majority of migrants come from four countries–Mexico and three Central American nations–that have not vaccinated many of their people and that they are not tested for coronavirus before their release into the United States. Cotton and the GOP senators wrote:

To date, Mexico is estimated to have vaccinated less than one percent of its population and Northern Triangle nations have vaccinated virtually none of their citizens. The vast majority of illegal aliens come from these four, mostly-unvaccinated nations. COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] is a highly contagious virus and a small percentage of infected migrants could unintentionally cause widespread harm. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated and illegally-present individuals is an unnecessary danger to our public health.

Psaki said that migrants were only released into the country under “incredibly narrow and limited circumstances,” even though over a thousand migrants have been released by the Biden administration in border states like Texas and California.

Biden’s restoration of previous “catch-and-release” policies, however, has increased illegal alien “family units” crossings in January by 83 percent.

Update: A spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News about mandatory testing:
In some instances, certain family units in a small fraction of the border have not been able to be returned to their last point of origin. As Customs and Border Protection always has, it adjusts resources as needed to meet the demand at the border and regularly screens individuals for signs of health issues when they are encountered, including COVID-19. Anyone who shows sign of illness receives the appropriate medical treatment.

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