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Biden’s COVID measures meaningless without border security

As illegal migrants continue to stream across America’s southern border in record numbers, the Biden administration has announced Trump-style travel bans affecting eight southern African nations. The administration also instituted a vaccine mandate for essential travelers legally crossing the border – including truck drivers, emergency response workers and government officials.

These new measures, allegedly designed to protect Americans from the spread of the emerging COVID-19 omicron variant, are little more than political theater. Under current Biden administration policies, migrants detained at the southern border are only being tested for COVID if they exhibit symptoms. There is no vaccine requirement for them.

That means hundreds of thousands of people are flooding into the country illegally while truck drivers are prohibited from doing their jobs unless they are vaccinated. At a time when a shortage of drivers is hobbling already crippled supply chains, Biden’s new regulations have a huge down side with very little up side.  


According to unpublished U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers obtained by the Washington Post, border apprehensions in 2021 reached the highest levels ever recorded. And the 1.3 million people taken into custody just since President Biden took office is likely only a fraction of the total number of illegal border crossers.

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Among those are untold thousands of African migrants, some inevitably originating from the very countries affected by the travel ban. In 2019, when illegal migration levels were much lower, an estimated 5,000 people from 35 African nations were taken into custody trying to cross into the country illegally. Those are just the ones who were caught.

Since then, the numbers of migrants have exploded. Between 2012 and 2020 the Border Patrol detained an average of 540,000 people per year. That is one-third the number apprehended this year. The most recent data show the number detained just in the month of October was 192,000 (again, a fraction of the total). 

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How many of them were tested for COVID? How many are expected to be vaccinated? 


Biden’s policies have real economic consequences for the broader economy. Shutting down travel from other nations, checking vaccination status at the border, and mandating people inject an experimental vaccine come with a price – paid in freedom, opportunity and prosperity. People were willing to pay that price when they thought it would protect them from a deadly virus.  

No one can say whether travel bans and vaccine mandates would be enough to protect Americans from a new unknown variant. But we know for certain those policies won’t work if they can be easily circumvented by millions of illegal border crossers putting us all at risk.

Jason Chaffetz is a Fox News contributor, a distinguished fellow for the Government Accountability Institute, former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the host of the “Jason In The House” podcast.


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