Biden's border crisis complicates coronavirus fight, Homan says: 'The president is putting America at risk'

Biden has created ‘humanitarian crisis’ on border by changing Trump policy: Gov. Hutchinson

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Biden administration needs to ‘think long and hard about what they’ve done’ and change course quickly before the problem gets worse.

The crisis at the border continues to worsen as a growing number of unaccompanied migrant children remain in Border Patrol custody this week — and critics fear the situation will “greatly complicate” the spread of COVID-19.

The Department of Homeland Security projects that 117,000 unaccompanied minors will enter the U.S. illegally this year, whereas throughout 2020 only 33,239 unaccompanied children crossed the border, according to a report.

“This is a direct result of the promises [Joe] Biden made when running for president and the actions he has taken since [becoming] president to undo all the border security measures [former] President Trump had in place,” former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Homan said.

“When more children die while attempting to enter this country, President Biden needs to look in the mirror and take responsibility for his incompetent decisions,” he added.

Migrants from Central America and other nationalities, hoping to cross and request asylum in the U.S., hold banners and shout slogans to U.S. President Joe Biden at their campsite outside El Chaparral border crossing, in Tijuana, Mexico, Feb. 27, 2021. 
(REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)

Ronald Vitiello, the former chief of Border Patrol and also former acting director of ICE, agreed with Homan that this massive increase is “100%” a direct result of the difference between Trump and Biden’s immigration policies.

However, critics are raising the alarm about more than just the surge in illegal entries.

Migrants are not supposed to enter the U.S. from Mexico without a negative COVID-19 test, yet at least 185 migrants released this past month into Brownsville, Texas, tested positive. The city of Brownsville cannot prevent these people from traveling throughout the country, it said, and it is unclear how many of these people have utilized public transportation.


“This is an example of how unprepared DHS was for this surge,” Vitiello said, referring to the mishandling of COVID-19-positive migrants. “I saw today that Mexico closed their Migrant Protection Protocol shelters, and since the program is suspended, they will likely refuse to allow people to wait for test results. They are not likely equipped to administer [COVID-19] tests.”

Migrants journey from Central America to the U.S. border last month. (AP Photo/Isabel Mateos, File)

Homan, who is also a Fox News contributor, said the surge of migrants, combined with COVID-19 cases, undoubtedly will complicate the pandemic situation throughout the U.S., and the handling of the current border crisis is “certainly not safe because it is counter to everything the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has been saying.”

“The president is putting America at risk,” Homan said. “The last thing we should be doing is bringing more COVID in the country and releasing them. There is no rationale to justify such an incompetent decision.”

Neither the White House nor DHS responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.


Todd Bensmann, senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, was on the ground in Juarez, Mexico, last month and said the claim that migrants cannot enter the U.S. from Mexico without a negative COVID-19 test is “fraudulent.”

“Thousands of migrants in family units are being issued “catch-and-release” notices and then being directed straight to Greyhound bus stations for trips to American cities large and small, without any COVID testing,” he said. “The few who do get tested are mainly the former recipients of the MPP program, Wait in Mexico. There’s about 25,000 of those being metered in. But illegal aliens running and evading, and the family units getting the catch and release treatment? Far more of them. None are getting tested.”

Migrants waiting to cross into the United States wait for news at the border crossing Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico. After many months and sometimes up to two years of waiting in Mexico for U.S. immigration court hearings, migrants seeking asylum in the United States are being allowed in the country starting Friday to be released until their cases conclude. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)

Moreover, the Biden administration has allowed long-term holding facilities, which hold unaccompanied child migrants, to lift capacity restrictions put in place during the pandemic, in an attempt to accommodate the influx of children to the U.S. But according to an HHS memo issued Friday, there is no “0% risk scenario, particularly in congregate settings…Therefore, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities should plan for, and expect to have, COVID-19 cases.” 

Vitiello said the Biden administration had to lift capacity restrictions because they were not prepared for the influx. Bensmann said the administration has no choice but to accept minors because of their political agenda.


“The Biden administration has boxed itself into the corner that it can never be seen as pushing back ‘children’ into dark and dangerous Mexico like Trump did,” he said. “So the administration has to expand facilities to accommodate them until they can be placed with a verified relative, parent or guardian.”

According to Bensmann, the administration would have to choose between two evils regarding COVID-19: one, pushing poor children back to Mexico or deporting them to home countries; or two, letting them in with COVID-19 to infect others.

“They’re always going to pick two,” he said. “Plus remember that kids don’t get very sick from COVID and very, very rarely die.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, CityMD director and Fox News contributor, was in Washington Tuesday to discuss with lawmakers how the border crisis will affect the pandemic throughout the U.S.

Central American migrants rest at "The 72" shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco state, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Only six weeks into the year, the shelter has hosted nearly 1,500 migrants compared to 3,000 all of last year, even though it has halved its dormitory capacity due to the new cornavirus pandemic. 
(AP Photo/Isabel Mateos)

“With illegal immigration, we are concerned about many diseases coming in, such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, pertussis, COVID and HIV,” she said. “So this is not just an issue with coronavirus.” 

However, Nesheiwat fears that if the U.S. continues seeing an influx of hundreds of immigrants daily, there could be spikes and surges in areas of the U.S. She worries specifically for areas along the border like Texas or New Mexico.


Homan said overwhelmed Border Patrol agents on the ground have told him the situation on the border is out of control.

Both Homan and Vitiello agreed that while immigration and border security always influence elections, the current state of emergency on the border will be an especially important issue to voters ahead of 2022.

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