A Republican congressman accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats of hypocrisy after a mask mandate was reintroduced for vaccinated representatives while the Biden administration continues to transport COVID-19 positive migrants across the country without notifying local health authorities.
During remarks on the House floor Wednesday, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, lamented that “We have a crisis at our border and we’re playing footsie with mask mandates.”
Roy’s comments followed the re-introduction of mask mandates for members of the House as well as updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control stating that vaccinated Americans are to wear masks indoors in parts of the country and advised children to wear masks at school.
Roy detailed the situation at the United States’ southern border with Mexico, which he described as “people spilling across the border who are clearly testing positive for COVID.”
“We have a hotel in La Joya, Texas, that is literally filled right now with individuals who are heavily testing positive for COVID,” he added.
The border town of La Joya is one of many Texas communities trying to manage the influx of migrants, some of whom need treatment for COVID-19. The La Joya Police Department announced in a Facebook post on Monday (followed by a press conference on Tuesday) that “a La Joya police officer was waved down by a [concerned] citizen" at a Whataburger who was worried that a COVID-19 positive family was in the restaurant and not wearing face coverings to protect others from getting infected.
“The citizen explained to the officer that she had observed a family group who were not being observant of proper health guidelines. She stated that the family was coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths and were not wearing face masks.”
Upon talking to the family, the officer learned “they had been apprehended by Border Patrol days prior and were released because they were sick with Covid-19.” He also discovered that they were staying at the Texas Inn Hotel in La Joya.
A manager for the hotel said “Catholic Charities of The Rio Grande Valley had booked all the rooms in the hotel to house undocumented immigrants that were detained By Border Patrol,” the department added.
In the Facebook post, the La Joya Police Department added that “Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley did not inform the La Joya Police Department that people that had symptoms or were sick with Covid-19 were going to be placed in the Texas Inn Hotel.”
During his speech on the House floor, Roy said he received a text message from the sheriff of Uvalde, Texas, stating that the city council planned to pass an "emergency declaration" stating that migrants would not be allowed to be released in the city unless they had tested negative for COVID-19.
Roy maintained that congressional Democrats “are going to do nothing, literally nothing” to address the “absolute travesty” at the border. He further accused Democrats of mixed messaging regarding the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The American people are fed up. They want to go back to life. They want to go back to business; they want to go back to school without their children being forced to wear masks," Roy said.
“The speaker comes down here at 10 in the morning saying we’ve got to wear masks in the people’s House while we’ve got thousands of people pouring across our border and Democrats don’t do a darn thing about it, heavily infected with COVID,” he asserted.
Roy added that he agreed with the characterization of the new CDC guidelines as “some serious nanny state stuff that will only breed resentment,” suggesting that imposing restrictions on the American people while none are placed on immigrants entering the country illegally will only worsen that resentment.
The Texas congressman's concerns about COVID-infected migrants crossing the southern border were shared by two federal whistleblowers who filed a complaint Wednesday alleging that at a Texas facility set up to care for migrant children “ ... masks were not consistently provided to children, nor was their use consistently enforced.”
At the Fort Bliss facility, located near El Paso, “Hundreds of children contracted COVID in the overcrowded conditions,” the whistleblowers said.
The whistleblowers' complaint, filed on behalf of Arthur Pearlstein of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and Social Security Administration lawyer Lauren Reinhold, stated that “COVID was widespread among children and eventually spread to many employees.”
Both federal employees were stationed at Fort Bliss to help with the migrant surge. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the complaint said that “every effort was made to downplay the degree of COVID infection at the site, and the size of the outbreak was deliberately kept under wraps.”
The filing added: “At a ‘town hall’ meeting with detailees, a senior U.S. Public Health Service manager was asked and refused to say how many were infected because ‘if that graph [of infections] is going to The Washington Post, it’s the only thing we’ll be dealing with and politics will take over, perception will take over, and we’re about reality, not perception.”
At the beginning of his impassioned speech on the House floor, Roy mentioned Title 42, a policy implemented by the Trump administration amid the coronavirus pandemic that would allow border officials to turn away those seeking to enter the U.S.
Upon taking office, the Biden administration tamped down enforcement of Title 42 and gutted the Migrant Protection Protocols, which required those seeking asylum in the U.S. to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims were adjudicated.
Critics of the Biden administration blame the abandonment of the aforementioned policies for the astronomical number of border crossings that has continued to increase each month that President Joe Biden has been in office.
According to Customs and Border Protection, there were 188,829 encounters between law enforcement officials and migrants at the southwest border in June, an increase of more than 8,000 from the previous month.
By contrast, in February, Biden’s first full months in office, there were 101,095 encounters between law enforcement officials and migrants. With three months to go in fiscal year 2021, 1,119,204 encounters have occurred thus far, more than double the 458,088 that took place in all of fiscal year 2002.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org