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Immigration

Mayorkas grilled about testing migrants for COVID-19

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Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde (Ga.) on Tuesday grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on the surge of migrants at the southern border and reports that detainees who tested positive for COVID-19 were released from facilities.

“Do you agree that U.S. citizens must present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three days, to enter the country after flying internationally?” Clyde asked the Homeland Security Secretary at Tuesday’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

“I believe we require a negative test for individuals traveling internationally,” Mayorkas replied.

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“Yet,” Clyde went on to say, “there are thousands of foreign nationals that cross our borders and that are released into our communities—without us knowing if they’ve had a COVID-19 test or not.”

“There appears to be a more lenient standard for foreign nationals crossing our borders illegally than for American citizens,” he added. “So, why is that?”

“That is not true,” Mayorkas fired back.

“What do you mean it’s not true?” the Georgia Republican asked.

“It’s unequivocally not true for the reasons I’ve expressed,” Mayorkas doubled down.

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Clyde then asked if every foreign national crossing U.S. borders is being tested for COVID-19, to which Mayorkas said, “It is our policy to test individuals who are apprehended between the ports of entry […] and, if in fact they test positive, to quarantine them.”

“That is our policy, and we have built practices to execute on that policy,” the secretary added.

“Can assure the American people that no one who has been apprehended is released into our communities […] that still test positive for COVID-19?” Clyde pressed him.

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“There were times earlier when individuals were apprehended, and we sought to expel them, and we were unable to expel them, and we were compelled to release them, and we did not have the opportunity to test them,” Mayorkas replied. “We have addressed that situation.”

“As we speak right now, you’re telling me that no one is released into our country that is COVID-19-positive?” Clyde inquired.

Mayorkas responded: “Congressman, allow me to repeat myself, if I may—”

“Well, that’s just a yes-or-no question,” Clyde interjected, which was followed by both interrupting each other.

“Congressman, if I may, the situation at the border is complex, and the complexity is evidenced by the questions throughout the morning,” Mayorkas said. “So please, if I may: it is our policy to test and to quarantine.”

“Okay,” Clyde said, interrupting him, “but are you executing that policy 100%?”

“We are doing the best we can to ensure that the policy is executed 100% of the time,” Mayorkas said, “that I can say.”

WATCH the full exchange here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Israel

A new policy by the U.S. Immigration Authority asks Israelis if they were involved in war crimes

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According to attorney Liam Schwartz, head of the Labor and Corporate Immigration Department at the Tel Aviv-based law firm of Goldfarb, Seligman, a new policy by the U.S. Immigration Authority aimed at Israelis seeks detailed explanations about military service, potentially to identify involvement in war crimes or other serious offenses.

“The U.S. Immigration Authority’s new policy is extremely worrisome,” Schwartz said. “Its impact on Israelis could be broad, affecting areas such as relocation for work, academic studies, and family reunification.”

This policy extends beyond green card applications. Israelis applying for visas at U.S. embassies outside Israel may also face rigorous questioning. Y Net News discusses the case of Yuval, a senior manager at a high-tech company in Silicon Valley, who recently received a surprising letter from the U.S. Immigration Authority regarding his green card application. The letter requested detailed information about his service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2005 to 2008, raising concerns about a potential shift in U.S. immigration policy towards Israeli applicants.

The letter demanded an affidavit under oath addressing several specific questions about Yuval’s military service. These included queries about his participation in combat, command roles, guarding detainees, and the use of weapons or explosives. Yuval must provide satisfactory answers within 87 days to avoid deportation.

Yuval expressed shock at the detailed nature of the questions, noting that he had previously provided basic information about his military service when applying for his work visa two years ago. “I feel as if questions were copied from the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” he remarked.

While cooperation with U.S. authorities regarding military service is necessary for visa or green card applications, Schwartz highlighted a conflict with Israeli laws on military confidentiality. He suggested that in some cases, it might be more practical for applicants to consider leaving the U.S.

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