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Why Doesn't Biden's Vaccine Mandate Apply to Illegal Immigrants? Watch Mayorkas Respond.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday over the impact of President Biden’s vaccine mandate on federal employees.

What will happen if thousands of the 16,000-17,000 Border Patrol agents at the southern border are sidelined over their vaccination status, he wondered.

“This ties back to your desire to give yourself an A for effort on dealing with workforce issues,” Lee said. “But what happens when you’ve got potentially thousands of those, a pretty large percentage, who might soon become ineligible to work based on their vaccination status? Does that hurt or help the operational control of the border?”

While touting the “tremendous uptick” in the percentage of agents who are getting vaccinated, Mayorkas could only “hope that does not materialize.”

“You hope!” a surprised Lee shot back. “But do you have a plan for maintaining this?”

He asked Mayorkas to prepare a written plan to send within the next two weeks, which Mayorkas assured him he would. 

In September, a whistleblower warned Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that the border crisis would get a lot worse once the mandate took effect.

The Ohio Republican also pointed out how “ridiculous” the policy is when hardworking agents who do not wish to get vaccinated will lose their jobs but “people who break the law and come in here” have the option to get the vaccine. “No big deal, your choice, it’s up to you.”

Mayorkas was also asked about that during Tuesday's hearing. 

"The analysis for migrants encountered at the border is quite different than for the federal workforce that leads by example," he said.

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