The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a memo waiving COVID-19 rules and restrictions limiting capacity at child migrant shelters to deal with the massive flood of children entering the U.S illegally. An average of 321 unaccompanied children are arriving at the southern border each day, due to President’s Biden reversal of Trump’s pandemic policy which turned migrants away at the border. The government abandoned its 50% capacity requirement for the migrant care centers and is now allowing 100% capacity despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The memo states that coronavirus protocols are being “relaxed” in order to detain the thousands of children arriving every week. It states that the facilities should “plan and expect to have COVID-19 cases” as a result of packing the sleeping and communal areas with as many as double the number of children allowed up until this point. They have encouraged facility operators to continue giving COVID-19 tests to children placed there, wear masks, follow 14-day quarantine guidelines, and improve ventilation.
While the Biden Administration offered to reimburse local officials and nonprofits in Texas who are helping the migrant families find shelter and get tested for COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott rejected the proposal and said it amounts to an “illegal immigration program.” He said he would not aid a program that makes our country a magnet for illegal immigration and accused the Biden Administration of releasing immigrants in South Texas that have been exposing Texans to COVID-19.
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“Some of these people have been put on buses, taking that COVID to other states in the United States,” Gov. Abbott said.
Out of 1,800 migrants who tested for COVID-19 before entering Brownsville, 108 tested positive, putting the positivity rate at 6.3%. The Department of Health and Human Services has also called for 20,000 additional beds to accommodate the expected number of migrants arriving in the next few months but said that they do not have the adequate space for physical distancing or quarantine of persons exposed to COVID-19.
The CDC memo comes during a time of ferocious national debate over whether and when to reopen schools. While the CDC guidelines were adjusted to apply to migrant children, they did not state whether it’s safe to reopen schools. The Biden Administration is even considering renaming the child migrant shelters to “reception centers.”
While President Biden campaigned on reversing Trump’s immigration policies, he also campaigned on saving the country from COVID-19. At this point in time, it’s evident that flooding the country with migrant children who haven’t been tested for COVID-19 is more important than protecting Americans from COVID-19 and getting children back to school.