DeSantis: Requiring foreigners to get vaccinated before they enter the U.S. will do more harm than good

Boy, I don’t know. He said yesterday afternoon and then again last night on Fox that Biden has been derelict in his duty to protect Americans by allowing migrants into the U.S. en masse knowing that many are infected with COVID.

And he’s right. It’s insane for the feds to seed new Delta outbreaks at a moment when the country’s desperately trying to control the current level of spread.

But then … why would DeSantis allow in unvaccinated visitors lawfully from abroad, knowing that they might seed new outbreaks while they’re here too? If the goal is to reduce infections imported from overseas then our immigration policies should be uniform to achieve it. Reinstate the Trump-era pandemic policies at the southern border allowing immediate removal of all migrants by the Border Patrol and require proof of vaccination by all lawful visitors at U.S. ports.

Biden foolishly wants to do one but not the other. And so, strangely, does DeSantis. Skip to 6:15 for the key bit.

Requiring proof of vaccination from foreigners might hurt commerce, he says, fretting about Florida’s tourism industry. You know what else might hurt commerce? A sustained wave of Delta that stays aloft thanks to an endless series of new local outbreaks, some of them sparked by unvaccinated visitors.

What’s his game here? Is he so desperate to pander to MAGA fans that he won’t even endorse vaccine passports for foreigners, something that countries routinely do? Has he seen this poll yet?

The unvaccinated, a group that includes many Republican primary voters, see foreigners as the cohort that’s most responsible for the current Delta wave. In claiming that, they’re obviously trying to shift blame from themselves as the true driving force. But if that’s the story they’re telling themselves, you would think DeSantis might respond to it by taking a zero-tolerance policy towards foreign travelers. Seal the southern border as much as possible and make foreign visitors prove that they’ve been vaccinated. The sort of person with the money to travel internationally and visit DisneyWorld in Orlando was probably vaccinated long ago anyway.

If he really wants to go all-in against vaccine passports, he could point out that it’s unclear right now if the vaccinated are less likely to transmit the virus than the unvaccinated are, in which case what’s to be gained by limiting admission into the U.S. to those who’ve had their shots? Those people are going to seed outbreaks too, albeit (probably) fewer than the unvaxxed are. Either ban all travel to the U.S. or allow it without vaccination restrictions.

Although if he makes that case, he’ll be accused of underselling the vaccine. You mean you can still get infected and infect others even if you’ve had your shots? Well, yes, unfortunately. Under Delta you can. But you’ll probably avoid a trip to the hospital once you’re immunized, which is the most important thing.

Biden and DeSantis are playing a game with each other, with each man looking to shift blame for the political jam they suddenly find themselves in together. Cases are exploding in the U.S. and hospitalizations are rising; DeSantis’s state happens to be the single biggest driver of the national numbers in both categories at the moment. Those national numbers are ugly for Biden, both on the merits and in what they portend for a slower than expected economic recovery. So he and the Democrats need a scapegoat. Guess who.

It’s DeSantis’s fault, says Biden, not mine. Until the governor lets local governments in Florida set their own COVID policies, like bringing back mask mandates, the White House will continue to hold him up as an example of Republican negligence having caused the current wave. DeSantis, meanwhile, wants to shift the focus from his own state’s ordeal to the national Delta crisis, which is by no means a Florida-only problem. Cases are rising in numerous southeastern states and Texas although no one has it as bad as DeSantis’s jurisdiction right now. His solution: Refocus attention on Biden’s terrible immigration policy and the many COVID-bearing migrants it’s shuttling across the U.S. They’re competing to see who can change the subject to the other guy’s foibles most effectively.

I’ll leave you with this amusing liberal ad, which correctly recognizes that there’s only one politician who can hurt DeSantis. And it’s not Joe Biden.