House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) highlighted the Biden administration’s differing standards of coronavirus guideline adherence for illegal migrants at the southern border versus American citizens during a subcommittee hearing Thursday with members of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response team.
Scalise, ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, referenced photos that revealed unaccompanied alien children (UACs) awaiting processing in cramped makeshift federal facilities after being apprehended by border officials. UACs are those under the age of 18 who cross the border illegally without a parent or guardian.
Scalise asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, if he believes the Biden administration’s facilities are in compliance with Fauci’s recommendation that individuals continue to practice social distancing.
“Dr. Fauci, does this look like social distancing to you that you require when you talk about six feet?” Scalise asked, pointing to the photos.
Fauci replied, “No.”
“So in these cells, as you just said, they’re violating the very guidance that you tell Americans to follow,” Scalise clarified. “A restaurant in the United States would be shut down today if they were being run like this, yet the federal government, the Biden administration, is running this facility. You can see all of these young children who are next to each other six inches apart, many without masks by the way. Does that follow your guidance that you’ve issued?”
Fauci again replied, “No.”
“They’re violating every guidance that Americans are required to follow,” Scalise observed.
The congressman also grilled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky on her agency’s requirement that Americans who enter the country via air travel must produce a negative coronavirus test prior to boarding their flight into the U.S.
Scalise, who led a congressional delegation on a tour of the border last week in Texas, claimed to Walensky that on his flight from McAllen back to his home state of Louisiana, “about half of the plane were some of the people that are in these pictures who were getting on these flights, not being tested for COVID, in violation of your guidance.”
“Is there an exemption for people who come here illegally to this guidance?” Scalise asked.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed during a hearing in March that the department was releasing illegal migrants it had apprehended into the interior of the country without first testing them for coronavirus.
In some instances, moreover, the federal government is funding air and bus travel for illegal migrants to their final destination within the country.
Walensky said, “Everybody coming into the United States by air is supposed to have a test one to three days before coming—” Scalise interjected, “Well, let me just advise you that the director of Homeland Security has testified that that’s not happening.”
Noting that Biden has not met with Scalise despite his request for a meeting, the congressman asked Walensky, “Can you let [the president] know that he’s violating your own CDC guidance in how he’s running our southern border right now?”
The CDC identifies Mexico as “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 in Mexico.”
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