FARRELL: The Border Crisis/COVID Spike Connection

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Chris Farrell Judicial Watch
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The COVID-19 crisis and the border crisis are now tightly connected, but don’t count on the Biden administration admitting there’s a problem.

Last week, President Joe Biden accused Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of contributing to the renewed pandemic emergency by getting in the way of “people who are trying to do the right thing.”

DeSantis responded that he is only standing in the way of those trying to “deny kids a proper in-person education” and “restrict people and impose mandates and ruin their jobs and livelihood.” DeSantis added that Biden should do his job to secure the border, and “until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.”

When told of the DeSantis riposte Biden shot back, “Governor who?” The comment was meant to be snarky, but with our fuzzy-headed chief executive you have to wonder if maybe he really didn’t know.

Biden claimed that Florida and Texas account for “one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country.” But he failed to make the obvious linkage between the rise in disease rates and the dramatic influx of infected illegal immigrants in these two states.

Take for example the city of McAllen, Texas, which last week reported 7,000 COVID-positive illegals being released into their town since February, with 1,500 of them showing up the previous week. And note that since U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not testing migrants, these numbers only reflect those that have consented to be tested after being released. Add to this the unknown numbers of infected migrants who slip in without being apprehended at all. As a consequence, Mayor Javier Villalobos declared the city a disaster area and told concerned citizens that if they wanted to place the blame, “place it on the people who are responsible, and that is Washington.”

After leaving temporary shelters in McAllen and other locations the illegals are given assistance by local charity groups, who put them on buses and planes to travel to the interior of the country. And among the most popular destinations is – you guessed it — Florida.

DeSantis has taken the lead in drawing attention to the potential impact our wide-open southern border is having on the resurgence of COVID-19. Hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive from scores of countries, probably unvaccinated, definitely at risk and about half the time already infected with the disease. They are then sent throughout the country as disease vectors for whatever variety of the contagion they have, known or unknown. “Whatever variants are around the world, they’re coming across that southern border,” DeSantis said. He noted that the president is “not shutting down the virus, he’s helping to facilitate it in our country.”

The White House refuses to engage the issue, probably because it has no reasonable response. It is bizarre from a public health standpoint to allow thousands of people to enter the country illegally every day, coming from countries around the world, with no COVID testing, no quarantine and the ability to move freely throughout the country with no tracking or realistic follow-up. It is a reckless and irresponsible policy, and frankly indefensible.

But politics is overwhelming common sense. Liberals are no doubt delighted that Florida has become a COVID-19 hotspot, something they had been hoping for ever since DeSantis began pushing back on Washington’s pandemic overreach. The media is hyping the Florida outbreak, with CNN’s Jim Acosta sinking so low as to call it the “DeSantis variant.” They rightly see DeSantis as a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, so they need to inoculate Biden against him pronto.

The outbreak also ties into the smug liberal narrative of the “poor dumb white southern anti-vaxxers getting their just desserts,” even though about 60% of Floridians are fully vaccinated, and Florida’s death rate over the course of the pandemic is just below the national average – far below #2-ranked New York, for example. We saw another example of this class bias in criticism of the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota as a potential “death cult” event, whereas Barack Obama’s maskless, close-contact birthday bash was described as a delightful gathering of a “sophisticated, vaccinated crowd.” Apparently COVID-19, like Nancy Pelosi, chose not to attend.

But when it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, promoting the narrative has always been more important than protecting public health. So don’t count on stories exposing the links between out-of-control illegal immigration and the resurgent pandemic unless they figure out a way to blame Donald Trump for it.

Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. He is a former military intelligence officer.