Immigration-Asylum

A Border Patrol agent watches as a group of migrants walk across the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas, in this June 15, 2021, file photo.

(The Center Square) – Border patrol agents who’ve spent their career protecting the U.S. now face termination if they refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by November. At the same time, the Biden administration is imposing no vaccination requirements on those entering the U.S. illegally as a condition for being processed and released into the U.S.

In response, U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Tom McClintock, R-Calif., sent Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a letter expressing their disbelief that “the Biden administration will allow COVID-positive illegal aliens to surge across the border but will terminate dedicated law-enforcement officers who do not comply” with a presidential mandate.

“The Biden border crisis continues to worsen as illegal aliens stream across the southwest border as a result of President Biden’s and your radical immigration policies,” they wrote. “As the brave men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol work tirelessly to respond to the Administration’s manufactured border crisis,” DHS is threatening to terminate a significant number of agents who refuse to comply with the order.

The congressmen argue the agents’ jobs are made even harder “when senior officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris, spread false accusations of cruelty, as has occurred in recent days to mounted officers in Del Rio, while ignoring reports of attacks against Border Patrol personnel.”

Biden’s mandate “risks reducing the already-depleted Border Patrol workforce in the middle of the unfolding border crisis,” they add.

Since February, more than 1.2 million people have been apprehended illegally entering the U.S., and none have been subject to a vaccine mandate.

Retired Border Patrol agent from the Del Rio sector, Frank Lopez Jr., told The Center Square that the presidential mandate “is a total betrayal by the government that is supposed to uphold the constitution Border Patrol agents swore to protect.

“Our agents swear an oath to enforce the law codified by the U.S. Congress,” he said. “We have a system in place. But by a presidential executive order, millions of illegals are allowed to violate immigration law and agents may be terminated who follow the law who don’t want to get the COVID shots.”

Another administration policy requires those legally applying for permanent resident status to receive both COVID-19 shots by Oct. 1, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate, or their application would be denied.

Another executive order requires millions of workers to be regularly tested for COVID-19 as a condition for employment if they are not vaccinated, but Mayorkas acknowledged on Sept. 24 that the majority of the 15,000 Haitians illegally congregating in Del Rio, Texas, weren’t tested for COVID-19 before they were released.

“Yeah, so, we did not test that population of individuals,” he said. “I do not know whether anyone was sick with COVID. We certainly had some individuals get sick, not specifically with COVID, to my knowledge, and we addressed their illnesses. In fact, we set up medical tents that had a certain standard of ability to address medical needs.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News that “the Biden administration cares far more about people who are not in this country than he does about American citizens who live in this country.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has vowed to fight the Biden vaccine mandates on employers, joining a multistate coalition.

And U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, a former Texas Secretary of State, argues, “Under the Biden Administration, illegal migrants are not tested for COVID-19 or faced with vaccine mandate. But American workers can be fined or fired for not getting the vaccine. President Biden cares more about illegal immigrants than the safety and security of Americans.”

In July, Axios reported that illegal immigrants weren’t required to receive COVID-19 shots prior to being released into the U.S. By that time, more than 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. illegally were testing positive for the virus, the New York Times reported.

By mid-September when pressed on why the Biden administration would require American employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or their employers would be fined, forcing them to potentially lose their jobs or undergo regular testing and mask requirements, when the same standard wasn’t being applied to illegal immigrants, refugees or migrants, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki simply replied, “That’s correct.”

The thousands of Haitians who entered Del Rio, Psaki said, who weren’t providing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test isn’t "the same thing" as people who fly into the country legally, she said. “They are assessed for whether they have any symptoms. … If they have symptoms, the intention is for them to be quarantined. That is our process.

“They're not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time. I don't think it's the same thing."

But the roughly 15,000 Haitians under the bridge weren’t quarantined or tested, DHS acknowledged. The majority were also not deported, instead given “Notices to Appear” to return to immigration court. While they wait during the 12- to 36-month process, they reside in the U.S.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, told The Center Square, “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Biden administration would once again put its hypocrisy on full display by threatening the livelihoods of American citizens with an unconstitutional vaccine mandate while simultaneously refusing to fully enforce Title 42 protocols and releasing migrants into the interior, many of whom are COVID positive.

“We need to hold this administration accountable for its impeachable failures at the border, fully enforce Title 42, and put the American people's safety first.”