Psaki: Migrants at the border don't need to show proof of vaccination because they don't intend to stay for long

They don’t?

All this time I’ve been operating on the assumption that the reason they come to the border is because they do intend to stay.

Forever, if they can.

What Psaki means is that migrants who surrender to the Border Patrol and apply for asylum can, in some circumstances, be summarily expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 pandemic authority. You file your asylum application and then you’re either repatriated or told to get comfortable in Mexico while you await a ruling. Ideally.

But there are two wrinkles. First, not everyone is turned away.

Maybe those families released into the U.S. will show up for their asylum hearing or maybe they’ll disappear and become illegal immigrants. In which case, for all intents and purposes, they are here forever.

Second, whether the Biden administration will be able to summarily expel families for much longer is in doubt thanks to a federal judge.

In a 58-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan found that the Title 42 policy does not authorize the expulsion of migrants — and, in turn, does not allow for those removed to be denied the opportunity to seek asylum in the U.S. The judge’s order will go into effect in 14 days…

Sullivan’s order applies only to families, meaning the Biden administration can continue to expel single adults arriving at the U.S. southern border. Unaccompanied children have been exempt from being expelled using Title 42…

In recent months, Mexico has been increasingly resistant to accepting families expelled from the U.S. under Title 42, resulting in a majority of families entering the U.S. to be permitted to remain in the country.

Families are coming across the border without proof of vaccination and being released into the United States to remain for months and potentially years. Meanwhile, until literally this morning, fully vaccinated tourists with proof of immunity were barred from entering the U.S. even just to enjoy a vacation of a few days.

The people who really do intend to stay only briefly are asked to prove they’re no threat to the population while the people who hope to stay permanently aren’t. Go figure.

This is the strange progressive flip side to the spectacle at the Emmys and the Met Gala in which the upper and lower classes are held to different standards on COVID precautions. At gatherings of the rich, the servants are masked while the guests enjoy freedom without. At the border and other points of entry into the U.S., the logic reverses. Anyone with enough wealth to afford an international flight is expected to also have the wherewithal to get vaccinated, and if they can’t get their act together on it they can stay home. But migrants at the border are typically impoverished and may come from countries with poor health-care systems and little access to vaccines. Holding them to the same standard — prove you’re immune or get out — would all but end the dubious mass asylum process.

So the White House effectively waives the rule for them. Progressives want the borders open to impoverished people and are willing to absorb some extra COVID transmission towards that end. But they don’t care if an unvaxxed European couple that wants to spend a few days in Vegas is forced to find some other country to holiday in.

There’s another class angle. Tourists who fly in from abroad for vacation to spread their money around are apt to patronize middle- or upper-class establishments, where they’ll mix with professionals. Dirt-poor migrants, on the other hand, are likely to spend most of their time in downscale American communities. The governing class doesn’t care much if the poors are exposed to COVID but they don’t want it in their own spaces. Which probably also explains why most major businesses are okay with not requiring customers to prove they’re vaccinated but are more eager to have their own staffers get their shots. The low-paid cashier or sales assistant can take their chances with infected shoppers out front, but executives don’t want any ‘rona around them back in the office.

I’ll leave you with another soundbite from Psaki at today’s briefing, in which she deflects Biden’s role in the horrendous drone strike that killed seven Afghan children in part by noting that he knows how painful personal loss can be. Is there no uncomfortable moment politically that the White House won’t try to use Beau Biden’s tragic death to extricate themselves from?

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