The Biden administration is developing a plan to require nearly all foreign visitors to the United States to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of eventually lifting travel restrictions that bar much of the world from entering the United States, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The White House wants to re-open travel, which would boost business for the airlines and tourism industry, but is not ready to immediately lift restrictions because of the rising COVID-19 case load and highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, the official said.
The Biden administration has interagency working groups working “to have a new system ready for when we can reopen travel,” the official said, adding it includes “a phased approach that over time will mean, with limited exceptions, that foreign nationals traveling to the United States (from all countries) need to be fully vaccinated.”
Aaaaaand … chaser:
A border city in south Texas declared a local disaster this week as it struggles to respond to surging cases of the coronavirus among migrants as thousands are released by the Border Patrol onto the street every week.
Last week, a record-high 7,000 migrants were released in downtown McAllen, where they were immediately tested for the coronavirus through a city contractor. More than 1,500 people tested positive over the past seven days, according to a city document issued Wednesday, compared to a total of 7,000 confirmed cases over the past five months. Those who test positive are told to quarantine for two days but are ultimately released into the public.
The city said in a statement that the “shockingly large number of immigrants” released by Customs and Border Protection into the city overwhelmed Catholic Charities, which provides humanitarian services in the city for migrants. “This significant change increases the threat of COVID spread or other lawlessness within the city,” the city said.
Note well that they’re not even bothering to test for COVID-19 at the border, or if they are, that they’re not releasing the information. McAllen has to do that themselves, and then deal with the consequences of the spread within their community.
This comes at the same time that Joe Biden is publicly scolding Texas (and Florida) for refusing to impose mask mandates, and accusing them of acting irresponsibly:
Texas and Florida account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases, Biden claims. Based on what’s happening in McAllen, one can understand why. If Biden wants everyone to “come together” to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the US, he can start by halting the transport of illegal immigrants into the interior of the country, a population which has a demonstrably uncontrolled transmission rate and whose presence will touch off outbreaks that are entirely avoidable.
The Washington Post reports today that the White House now plans to vaccinate illegal immigrants with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Karen may have more on this later, but it’s akin to closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. If they’re already here and infected with COVID-19, especially the Delta variant, a vaccination will not render them instantly non-infectious. In fact, the Biden administration has spent the last several weeks emphasizing that fully vaccinated people might still spread the virus.
Biden’s border policy makes this new vaccine mandate on tourists a joke. It’s not that it’s at all unreasonable, as vaccine mandates routinely apply to international travel. However, the Biden administration wants to use this new policy as a way to demonstrate that it’s getting tough on COVID-19 at the border when the truth is that they’re all but ignoring that issue in their haste to demolish barriers to illegal entry to the US.
This is all political theater, not science, especially at the southern border. Making sure tourists are vaccinated is a good idea, but it’s worthless if you’re letting people enter illegally and carrying their viral loads with them. Just ask the people of McAllen, Texas.