While the illegal immigration crisis continues to ravage the United States' southern border, the White House is moving to share millions of doses of the COVID vaccine with other countries. It's the Biden administration's latest move to put other countries before America.
The Biden administration plans to "loan" 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and another 1.5 million doses to Canada. As of now, the United States has a stockpile of seven million doses, NPR reported. AstraZeneca will replace those doses later in the year, although that timeframe is up in the air.
The White House said their move allows Mexico and Canada, both of which have approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, to "meet" their "critical need" while trials continue in the United States.
"This action will allow our neighbors to meet a critical vaccination need in their countries, providing more protection immediately across the North American continent," White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said.
But Zients also said the move would not prevent Americans from receiving the vaccine themselves.
"This loan will not reduce the available supply of vaccines to Americans. The doses we are loaning are not approved for use in the United States," Zients said during the press conference. "No American will be without a vaccine because of this action."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki previously said a number of other countries have asked the United States for vaccines from the stockpile. As of now, which countries will be allowed to pull from the U.S. stockpile is unknown.
According to The Washington Post, providing Mexico a short-term supply of the COVID vaccine is likely part of on-going discussions about the border, although both the White House and Mexican officials deny the claims.
Mexico previously prevented Central Amerian caravans from traveling to the United States' southern border because President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs against the country. After the election, when Biden was deemed the next president, Mexico became lax on their enforcement, knowing Trump had little power to move forward with tariffs. The vaccine supply could be a motive for Mexico holding up their end of the bargain and doing a better job preventing caravans from entering through their southern border and traveling through their country.
Mexico has a real motive in striking this deal. Roughly 200,000 people have died from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, making it the third-highest total in the world. As of now, Mexico has only vaccinated 0.5 percent of its population, compared to 1.7 percent in Canada and 12 percent in the United States.
The United States would not have had to strike that kind of deal had Biden not decided to roll back Trump-era immigration policies on day one of his administration, during a pandemic no less. Pulling funding from the border wall construction, eliminating the "Remain in Mexico" policy and halting deportations was a symbolic way of telling the world America's southern border is open for business. And what do you know, people showed up.