I sympathize with him wanting to penalize illegals, if only to deter other would-be illegals from crossing the border. But.
There’s an obvious strategic problem with deliberately preventing parts of the population from being immunized when you’re trying to stop the spread of a runaway contagion.
Even weirder is that he says this knowing that it’s the meatpacking industry, of all things, that’ll be disproportionately affected by his policy.
According to recent data from the Migration Policy Institute, some 66 percent of the state’s meatpacking workers are immigrants, and varying estimates suggest that anywhere between 14 percent to almost all of them are undocumented.
Throughout the pandemic meatpacking plants have served as major hotspots for virus transmission, as workers spend hours standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the line and crowd into locker rooms to change their clothes before and after shifts.
More than 44,500 coronavirus cases and 232 deaths have been linked to processing plants around the US, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
Dilemmas, dilemmas: Give the vaccine to illegals or … put the food supply at risk when an outbreak brings a bunch of meatpacking plants to their knees?
Here’s a happy compromise. Either deport those illegal workers and solve the problem of having to vaccinate them that way or look the other way at them getting vaccinated the same way the state looks the other way at them being employed.
Gov. Ricketts (R-NE) says undocumented workers at meatpacking plants will not be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.
— The Recount (@therecount) January 5, 2021
I think Alex Griswold’s right about why Ricketts answered the way he did:
“Will undocumented workers receive the vaccine at meatpacking plants?”
“It’s illegal for them to work there, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
HINT. HINT. Move on, guys.
— Griswold Family Vacation (@HashtagGriswold) January 5, 2021
He can’t acknowledge that the unofficial policy is to look the other way so he’s sticking with the official policy for public consumption. “Vaccinate illegal workers? What illegal workers?”
Meanwhile, way out west in a state with an enormous illegal population, a dire situation is turning more dire:
“Two dozen new variant cases were confirmed on Jan. 4 from specimens collected from Dec. 27 through Dec. 31.”
— Hunter Sowards (@huntersowards3) January 5, 2021
I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t turn out that southern California’s ferocious outbreak is partly due to the British variant having spread much further much sooner than anyone thought. Forced to cope, Gavin Newsom is wisely relaxing some of the rules governing vaccine prioritization in order to speed up the process of getting shots into arms. “We’re not going to enforce against people trying to do the right thing, and common sense,” he told reporters, adding that the state will reach out to dentists, pharmacy techs, and the National Guard to provide more vaccination centers. “But why didn’t he think of that months ago so that those centers would be up and running on day one?” you ask.
Because we as a people have terrible political leadership. That’s the answer.
Speaking of which, Jazz has a post coming up about the clash between America’s worst governor and America’s worst mayor over how to speed up vaccinations in New York City. I won’t spoil it except to say that, ah, yeah, they’d better figure it out immediately:
Today's update on the numbers:
Total COVID hospitalizations are at 8,590.
Of the 152,402 tests reported yesterday, 12,666 were positive (8.31% of total).
Sadly, there were 149 fatalities. pic.twitter.com/gh5qFWqF8b
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 5, 2021
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 5, 2021
At a rate of 8,300 doses per day, NYC should immunize the entire population by late 2023. Cuomo is an infamous control freak who’s bigfooted de Blasio before when they’ve disagreed on COVID policy, with disastrous results. Now that it’s come time for the city to mobilize on vaccinating people, he’s decided that that’s de Blasio’s problem. I’m looking forward to the chapter “It’s The Mayor’s Fault” in his next book about “leadership” during the pandemic.
In fact, in lieu of an exit question, do yourself a favor and read this prescient two-week-old story that’s circulating today about how Cuomo’s micromanagement of the vaccination process was already beginning to cause problems for New York in December. Quote: “Interviews with multiple county officials over the past week confirm that many are unclear why the governor’s administration has not activated the county-by-county system, a plan that included recent practice sessions in which members of the public received regular flu vaccines at drive-thru sites. In Albany County, officials have privately said they could vaccinate the population of the southern half of the county in a few days if they were given the coronavirus vaccines and allowed to mobilize their plan.” I wonder how many months it’ll take wider media to catch onto the fact that he’s botching this stage of the COVID crisis too.