Democrats Block Bill Requiring COVID Test for Every Migrant Released Into US


House Democrats blocked a measure on Wednesday by Iowa Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks that would have required a negative COVID-19 test before migrants are released from Customs and Border Protection custody.

“Today, I offered my REACT Act on the House floor, which would require DHS to give a COVID test to everyone crossing our border illegally,” Meeks tweeted.

“The majority chose to block this commonsense bill that would ensure the health and safety of border patrol and border communities,” she added.

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More than 12,000 mostly Haitian migrants were released into the U.S. last week. No negative COVID-19 test was required before release.

“The Administration must act immediately to help secure our border,” Miller-Meeks tweeted in another post on Wednesday.

“I joined a letter this week led by @RepTonyGonzales demanding the President fully enforce current federal immigration laws,” she added.

In both July and August, more than 200,000 illegal immigrants crossed the southern border. No COVID-19 tests were required unless symptoms were shown.

Miller-Meeks first proposed the REACT Act in March (Requiring Every Alien Receive a COVID-19 Test). “This legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to test all migrants illegally crossing our border for COVID-19 who DHS plans to release into our communities,” according to a news release by the congresswoman.

“This week, I traveled to El Paso, Texas, to meet with CBP agents and officers. I saw firsthand the crisis they are facing, and I believe it is our job in Congress to address it and assist them. Approximately 50% of agents have tested positive for COVID-19, and very few migrants are being tested,” Miller-Meeks said in March.

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“My REACT Act would require that every migrant released from CBP or ICE custody is tested and receives a negative test. Border security and immigration is not an issue that only affects border states, it affects every community across the country. By ensuring that individuals entering the country are negative for COVID-19, we can help keep our communities safe and healthy,” she added.

The number of COVID-19 cases has reportedly also spiked in illegal immigrant detention centers, according to information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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The data, first cited by The New York Times in July, revealed more than 7,500 coronavirus cases were reported from April to July. During the same time, the number of people held reportedly rose from 14,000 to more than 26,000.

According to the data, the number of positive cases since April account “for more than 40 percent of all cases reported in ICE facilities since the pandemic began, according to a New York Times analysis of ICE data.”

Part of the new surge is related to increased testing. “Paige Hughes, an ICE spokeswoman, said that all new detainees were tested for the coronavirus and are held in quarantine for 14 days on arrival,” according to the report.

In addition, a very low percentage of illegal immigrants who enter the country are already vaccinated.

The low vaccination rate, combined with a lack of social distancing protocols and crowded locations, has provided many opportunities for the spread of the coronavirus.

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Dillon Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Western Journal and is the author or co-author of numerous books.
Dillon Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Western Journal and is the author or co-author of numerous books. An accomplished endurance athlete, Burroughs has also completed numerous ultramarathons. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three children.