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GOP lawmakers now appear to want mask and vaccine rules — for immigrants

Republicans in Congress are now complaining that undocumented people entering the country are not required to get a COVID-19 vaccine first.

By Josh Israel - September 20, 2021
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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks at a news conference on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021, to complain about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the leadership of President Joe Biden, and guidelines on face masks by the Centers for Disease Control.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks at a news conference on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021, to complain about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the leadership of President Joe Biden, and guidelines on face masks by the Centers for Disease Control. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

After months of opposing coronavirus vaccine requirements, it appears Republicans in Congress have found one group of people they do want to force to get vaccinated: immigrants.

Responding to news that President Joe Biden will allow vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the United States if they test negative for the virus, Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty tweeted on Monday, “Will persons crossing the southern border seeking asylum similarly be prohibited from entry and release into the United States unless fully vaccinated?”

Vaccinated travelers from the EU & UK will be allowed into the US with a negative COVID-19 test. Of course, at the Southern Border there is no testing or vaccine requirements,” Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert incorrectly asserted.

“Ignoring the public health implications of allowing over a million maskless, unvaccinated illegal immigrants at the border shows you that to this Administration COVID is purely about politics and control,” complained Missouri Rep. Jason Smith.

“In the latest example of illegal immigrants having more rights than citizens,” opined New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis on Sept. 15, “those crossing our border are not required to be vaccinated but try being a healthcare worker or a teacher in America or just an average joe going to the gym in de Blasio’s New York.”

But while these and other GOP lawmakers are outraged by the prospect of undocumented immigrants arriving unvaccinated, they have also fiercely opposed Biden’s efforts to institute vaccine mandates.

“Being coerced and THREATENED to take the shot is WRONG,” Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson tweeted on Sept. 13. “FORCING people to get vaccinated and taking their jobs if they don’t WILL NOT stop COVID. I’ll continue to stand up to this in every way I can, because I KNOW this is just their first step in erasing ALL of our freedoms!”

As the delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a massive spike in the number of COVID cases over the past two months, hitting areas with low vaccination rates especially hard, many Republicans have sought to scapegoat immigrants for the problem.

In reality, there is no evidence that immigrants caused the spike, and claims that they are not tested for the virus or quarantined if they test positive at the border are refuted by multiple reports.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise claimed on Sept. 14, “Dems subject you to a vaccine mandate—but not illegal immigrants at the border. They’re not actually serious about public health. It’s all about power and control.”

But back in February, the Louisiana Republican tried to stop undocumented immigrants from even being able to get immunized. In a Fox News interview, PolitiFact noted, Scalise said, “Now (Biden) is saying that people who came here illegally can jump ahead of other Americans who have been waiting to get the vaccine.”

“For every vaccine an illegal immigrant gets, that’s one an American citizen waiting in line is not getting,” a Scalise spokesperson added. At the time, the vaccines were available only to the most vulnerable: first responders, health care and other essential workers, and some older Americans.

A Los Angeles Times analysis published on Monday found that GOP-run states with low rates of vaccination have the highest death rates per capita in the country. Blue states with the highest vaccination rates have the lowest death rates.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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