If President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate is successful, the southern border of the United States could be in even greater peril than it has already been since he took office, according to National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.
“We cannot afford at this time — during the biggest crisis as far as border security goes — we can’t afford to lose any of our employees,” Judd said during a virtual press conference with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Thursday.
Judd said 6,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees have already asked to be exempted from Biden’s mandate.
“If we lose even a couple of those people, it’s a couple too many as far as the border goes today,” he emphasized.
Judd was one of several union representatives invited to speak at the press conference, which was held to discuss Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s new proposed bill called the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Employed Act. The legislation, which she officially announced Tuesday, would require any entity, including the federal government, public and private federal contractors, and private and public entities receiving federal funds to provide an exemption to essential workers, as they are define in their respective states, from taking the Chinese coronavirus vaccine.
“Our essential workers are true heroes. For over 18 months, essential workers showed up to serve and protect their communities. Businesses across the country are desperate for workers and we are in the midst of a supply chain crisis,” Sen. Blackburn said in a statement. “There are more than 10.4 million open jobs across the country, and now President Biden wants to fire even more workers. Getting vaccinated is a choice that should be made between a patient and their doctor. No one should be forced by Joe Biden to be fired or get jabbed.”
Judd applauded Blackburn on Thursday for introducing the legislation, calling it a much needed piece of “common sense.”
“You were just down here at the border,” he said, addressing Blackburn. “You understand that we that we are in the largest border security crisis we’ve ever faced in our nation’s history. Common sense just simply does not prevail in Washington D.C. This piece of legislation is, in fact, common sense.”
In reply, Blackburn noted that the Biden administration has not provided “the money necessary for overtime” if his mandate is successful and potentially results in thousands of CBP jobs lost.
“As you said, losing a few agents would be very difficult, and we know this administration is not providing the money necessary for overtime,” she said. “So, 6,000 agents short would really begin to change the activity on that southern border.”
Biden signed an executive order in September requiring all employees working for a federal contractor or subcontractor to get vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus by November 24 to be considered “fully vaccinated” by a December 8, 2021, deadline. The mandate will also order private companies with over 100 employees to implement required vaccinations or weekly testing for employees.
Since then, many lawmakers and politicians have expressed outrage and have engaged in and proposed counter measures to stop what Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) federal government “overdrive.” On Tuesday, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) called on Biden to remove or delay his vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors, arguing it will hurt thousands of small defense contractors and the veterans they employ, Breitbart News reported.
On Wednesday, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients claimed the “deadline will not require immediate action on the part of employers against unvaccinated employees when it comes into force on Dec. 8,” Reuters reported.
“The White House comments suggest federal contractors employing millions of U.S. workers have significant flexibility in enforcing COVID-19 rules and will not be required to immediate lay-off workers, but will have time for education, counseling and other measures before potentially ending employment,” according to the report.
During the Thursday conference, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Larry Cosme said the Biden administration is “demoralizing and demeaning” essential workers who powered tirelessly through the early days of the pandemic.
“The essential workers…were making spilt second decisions to maximize the public health and safety throughout the pandemic,” Cosme said.
“And now to villainize these essential workers and telling them you have to have a mandated vaccine and you can’t make decisions about your own health — that’s sort of demoralizing and demeaning to the men and women that are essential workers and the people we represent in the federal law enforcement community,” he concluded.
Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY.), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tommy Tuberville (R- AL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) joined Blackburn in introducing the legislation.