Rep. Roy on COVID Border Restrictions: 'Democrats Won't Do Anything About It'

Posted: Apr 22, 2021 2:30 PM
Rep. Roy on COVID Border Restrictions: 'Democrats Won't Do Anything About It'

Source: House Television via AP

Democrats are so hellbent against protecting our borders from illegal immigrants, even those with COVID, that Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Yvette Herrell (R-NM) are turning to discharge their "Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread upon Entry from COVID–19 Act of 2021, also known as the "PAUSE Act of 2021." The bill, according to a press release from Rep. Roy's office would "reinstate enforcement of President Donald Trump’s Title 42 COVID protocols at the southern border."

In order to discharge the bill out of committee and force it to a floor vote in the House, 218 members will need to sign it. This includes every Republican, and a handful of Democrats, which the congressman seemed hopeful he could get during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News' "the Faulkner Focus."

This is not the first time that Rep. Roy has taken issue with the Vice President Harris being selected for such a task, nor is he the only one to do so. President Biden announced his selection of Harris to figure out stem the surge of immigrants crossing illegally from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras almost a month ago, with no visit from her to the border to show for it. In reaction, Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) called her the "worst possible choice one could make."

Gov. Ducey has since declared a state of emergency at the border, which has support from the state's two Democratic senators in Congress, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema. 

The press release also noted that:

The PAUSE Act requires Title 42 remain in effect until:

  • All state and federal lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, curfews, and other COVID-19 mandates end;
  • All public and federal public health emergencies for COVID-19 end; and
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traveler health risk level for Canada and Mexico is reduced to Level 1. 

Rebecca Moran on March 26 with USA Today reported on the changes between the Trump and Biden administration as far as what protocols each employed. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is quoted in the article as saying the Trump administration made use of the policy "far differently than we are using it now." As Moran reported:

“We have made a decision that we can address the public health imperative while addressing the humanitarian needs of vulnerable children,” Mayorkas said. 

The key difference between the two administrations’ implementation of the policy: unaccompanied children.

Under the Trump administration, almost every migrant coming to the U.S.-Mexico border was turned away, including children. While adults would typically be expelled to Mexico, children were often put up in hotels and then sent back to their home countries.

The Biden administration, on the other hand, has begun admitting migrant children into the U.S., while expelling most families and single adults. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a small, limited number of families have been accepted into the U.S.

Statements from the two representatives included in the press release provides a take on this as well, with original emphasis:

“When the new administration came in, President Biden ended President Trump’s Title 42 enforcement for thousands of children and families, and he may still decide to end enforcement altogether, all to appease his anti-borders base,” said Rep. Roy. “Suspending Title 42 enforcement in part has already signaled to cartels and coyotes that the era of catch and release has returned, and encouraged them to expand their atrocious operations across our border and into our communities.  What remaining enforcement the administration has left in place is the one thing standing between the current crisis — as bad as it is — and a full-scale rush on our southern border. With Congresswoman Herrell’s legislation and this discharge petition, Congress has the power to override this administration’s reckless policies now and prevent this crisis from getting worse. There is no reason that we shouldn’t vote on this as soon as possible; I look forward to finding out how many of my colleagues in each party agree.”

“Title 42 border health protections may be the only thing keeping Biden’s border crisis from becoming a full-blown catastrophe,” said Rep. Herrell. “Congress must act to ensure Border Patrol keeps their authority to quickly expel migrants who have or may have been exposed to COVID-19.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the petition has 81 signatures, which have been coming in since Tuesday. Both Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) signed on the first day. 

Rep. Scalise is one of the many Republican lawmakers who have traveled to the border. During an April 15 press conference, he raised the very concern being addressed in this legislation.

Another one of the signatories, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) has proposed legislation to require migrants receive COVID testing before being released into communities, known as the REACT Act.

Republicans are trying to get our borders secure, including and especially when it comes to the spread of COVID. If only Democrats would help.