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.
MORE ON THE BORDER: Migrants believed ‘Biden had opened the borders for them’: Sara Carter
“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.
MORE ON THE BORDER: Arizona AG: Biden ‘incentivizing’ migrants ‘to break the law and come here’
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.
“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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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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