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Border Patrol deputy chief says ‘300 to 400 border patrol agents’ a day are out of work quarantining

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By Jenny Goldsberry

US Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz announced in a press conference Thursday that he has hundreds of agents in quarantine as a result of contracting COVID-19 from migrants at the border. According to him, as many as 400 agents a day are out of commission because of the virus.

“What we’re experiencing now with unaccompanied children, family units, migrants from countries that we traditionally don’t experience, these tremendous flows from are what our Border Patrol agents are faced with each and every day,” Ortiz said. “Then you compound that with this COVID threat. At any given day, I may have between 300 and 400 Border Patrol agents that are in a quarantine status.”

As a result of contracting COVID-19, some have even died. “I wear this black badge over my badge because we’ve lost eight Border Patrol agents in the line of duty to COVID or to other events,” Ortiz explained. “And one is too many.”

This is among the first data set the public has received directly from the source. Earlier this week, CNN’s Brianna Keilar said stories about COVID cases at the border were “BS” and “racist.”

In response, Sara Carter tweeted at Keilar. “I’m sorry Brianna but you need to get down to the border and actually do some reporting,” Carter wrote. “It’s unbelievable how misinformed you are.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Economy

Biden Administration Expands Obamacare Coverage for ‘Dreamers’

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Friday morning the Biden administration announced it is expanding health-care access for “Dreamers”, a select group of illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. Illegal immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be granted access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House. Beginning in November, DACA members will be able to apply for healthcare coverage on healthcare.gov and state level insurance marketplaces.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed,” President Joe Biden said in a prepared statement. “And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.”

National Review notes Biden was vice president when then-president Barack Obama created DACA through executive order over a decade ago. The program gives deportation protections and work visas to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. An estimated 580,000 people are enrolled in the program. Former president Donald Trump failed to put an end to DACA during his term and the program continues to be fought in court.

Over 100,000 DACA beneficiaries will purchase health insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace and Basic Health Program created by the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates. Access to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will not be incorporated into the White House’s new rule after Biden proposed doing so last year, according to National Review.

“Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a prepared statement. “This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.”

The White House did not share a cost estimate for the expansion of Obamacare to DACA recipients. They will be eligible for financial assistance to help them afford the health insurance DACA enrollees are now eligible to purchase.

Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and to give Dreamers permanent citizenship. It’s unlikely that Congress will grant Biden’s wishes, given the failure of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration package earlier this year. Conservatives widely rejected the Senate’s proposal for not being tough enough on the southern border at a time when record levels of illegal immigrants are entering the country.

Immigration is a top issue for voters in the 2024 election because of the surge in border crossings under Biden’s watch. Polls indicate that Americans believe that Trump is better suited to handle the crisis at the southern border with his hardline approach.

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