Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida asked Dr. Anthony Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease — Tuesday to explain why Americans cannot return to the country if they test positive for COVID-19, but illegal aliens apprehended at the southern border can enter.
“I believe the United States is the only major Western country that now requires its citizens to test negative for COVID before they can get on an airplane and reenter the country,” Rubio told Fauci during Fauci’s appearance at a hearing of a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Rubio went on to note that this dichotomy is taking place even as the Biden administration looks to end the implementation of Title 42, a section of the public health law that facilitated quick deportations for those entering the country illegally who pose a danger of spreading the coronavirus.
“We obviously know we have a problem on our southern border, where, every day, people are entering the country illegally. And many are not even being tested for COVID, and even if they are, they’re being allowed to stay,” Rubio said.
“How do we tell American citizens: ‘If you test positive, even if it’s a dead virus that’s been in your system for 10 days — you can test positive days after you’re no longer infectious — you can’t enter your own country,” he continued.
“But if you arrive illegally, whether you test positive or not, if you say the magic words for asylum, you get to stay in the country,” Rubio said.
The lawmaker recounted that he knows Americans who were traveling abroad and got caught up in this COVID policy.
“They can’t afford to continue to pay for hotel rooms and staying overseas until they can finally score a negative test,” Rubio said.
“Are we at a point now where American citizens should be allowed to return to their country without testing negative?” he asked.
Fauci responded, “It’s an important question. I don’t have the answer to that.”
He continued by saying his agency works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine the feasibility of such a policy change.
“I think the idea of having an immigration issue mixed with a public health issue for the general population — I think those probably should be separated,” Fauci said.
This is our southern border right now under Biden
This isn’t a crisis they are trying to end,it’s one they are encouraging
Get ready it’s about to get much worse and if the democrats remain in power after 2022 it will be too late to fix it
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 12, 2022
Rubio did not accept Fauci’s answer.
“Except they’re interrelated because they both involve groups of people entering the United States,” he said.
“My point is, if we’ve reached a point in COVID where we no longer need Title 42 as a COVID restriction for illegal entry, why do we still need travel restrictions for American citizens for legal entry into their own country?”
234,000 migrants stopped at the border in April, the highest number EVER
Without Title 42 about 215,000 of 234,000 would have been released into the U.S.
That would be 2.6 million illegal immigrants admitted per year
Biden plans to end Title 42 next week
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 18, 2022
Late last month a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the CDC from ending Title 42.
On April 1, the agency had announced it would cease on May 23.
The New York Post reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays heard arguments Friday in the case and is expected to rule on it this week.
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