President Biden’s top coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci downplayed the role that largely unscreened illegal immigrants play in the spread of COVID-19.
CNN host Dana Bash on Sunday cited a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll of Americans on the top reasons for the spread of COVID-19. The No. 1 reason given by Republicans, she noted, was immigrants and tourists bringing COVID-19 into the United States.
“Are immigrants a major reason why COVID-19 is spreading in the U.S.?” she asked on the “State of the Union” program.
“No, absolutely not, Dana,” Fauci replied. “If you just look at the data and look at the people who’ve gotten infected, look at the people in the hospital, look at the people who’ve died, this is not driven by immigrants.
“This is a problem within our country, the same way it’s a problem with other countries throughout the world.”
Fauci said “certainly immigrants can get infected, but they’re not the driving force.”
See Fauci’s remarks to CNN:
Bash noted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky announced Friday that the agency is reevaluating Title 42, the emergency order under the Trump administration allowing immigration officials to expel migrants more easily because of the pandemic.
The CNN host asked Fauci if there is a medical reason to continue imposing the rule.
“I’m sorry, Dana, but I’m not as familar with the intricacies of that to make any comment about that rule,” Fauci replied.
“My feeling has always been that focusing on immigrants, expelling them or what have you, is not the solution to an outbreak.”
In April, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., confronted Fauci and Walensky in a House hearing, asking why illegal immigrants can get away with violating COVID mitigation rules while citizens in their daily lives cannot.
The Biden Administration is releasing COVID-positive migrants into the U.S.@SteveScalise called on Dr. Fauci and @CDCDirector to address why vaccinated Americans can’t return to normal activities while at the same time exempting migrants from following ANY @CDCgov guidance. pic.twitter.com/KH3wh4KnVR
— Select Committee Republicans (@SelectGOP) April 15, 2021
Meanwhile, a senior State Department official announced he is leaving the Biden administration because of the president’s use of Title 42 to expel migrants from the southern border.
In an Oct. 2 legal memo, Politico reported, Harold Koh, the sole political appointee on the State Department’s legal team, called the use of Title 42 “illegal,” “inhumane” and “not worthy of this Administration that I so strongly support.”
The White House and State Department argue they can’t do anything about Title 42 because it is tied to public health determinations made by the CDC.
“Title 42 is a public health authority, not an immigration one, and that authority rests with the [Center for Disease Control and Prevention],” a White House official, Politico reported. “The CDC has determined that the continued expulsion of certain individuals under Title 42 is necessary due to the risks of transmission and spread of COVID-19 in congregate settings, such as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stations, as well as the threat from emerging variants.”
A senior State Department official confirmed to Politico that the department defers to the CDC on decisions related to Title 42.
Home for Christmas?
On Sunday, Fauci made news in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” saying it’s “too soon to tell” whether it will be safe for Americans to gather for Christmas.
He backtracked on Monday, telling CNN his comments were “misinterpreted,” that it’s “absolutely not the case” that Americans can’t be with their families for the holidays.
“I will be spending Christmas with my family,” Fauci said. “I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family.”
In the CBS interview, Fauci also seemed to suggest that fully-vaccinated adults should wear masks when around unvaccinated children indoors, noted National Review’s Jim Geraghty.
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) October 4, 2021
A school district in Illinois reported fewer COVID cases after a judge ordered that the district could not require masks for students without a quarantine order.
Attorney Thomas DeVore said that since the order preventing the Hillsboro school district from mandating masks on Sept. 17, cases have gone down, reported The Center Square, a non-profit news agency in Illinois focused on the legislature and statewide news.
“I’m not saying that that’s conclusive, I’m just saying that that is information that suggests that masks on kids in this classroom is something that may not be necessary to prevent the spread,” DeVore said.
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