Biden Relaxes COVID Safeguards for Migrants, Cracks Down on Agents

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The Washington Free Beacon:

Border Patrol mandates masks for vaccinated agents

President Joe Biden insists that migrants pose no threat of spreading COVID-19 but treats Customs and Border Protection officials as superspreaders, according to interviews with agents and a review of agency documents.

The agency ordered vaccinated Border Patrol agents to wear masks when fulfilling a number of official duties, even as Biden begins winding down a Trump administration policy that gave the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection broad authority to turn away migrants who may carry disease.

The June 15 directive, signed by then-deputy chief Raul Ortiz, mandates that “fully vaccinated U.S. Border Patrol personnel, contractors, and visitors … [wear masks] in ‘operation settings … due to increased risk situations involving potential contact with detainees, employees, and the public.'”

Those “operation settings” encompass virtually all duties for agents who patrol the border, according to one official who spoke with the Washington Free Beacon. That is why, the official added, many supervisors have been ignoring the order, which also mandates that agents wear masks during “field training … where physical contact may be expected.”

“It’s definitely pissing off [CBP officers],” the official said. “That’s probably why after [the directive came out] we were told by our supervisors not to worry about it and that they weren’t going to enforce it.”

On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, whether they are indoors or outside. Biden also announced that White House staffers no longer needed to wear masks when in the office.

COVID-19 cases have surged in migrant detention facilities in the last several months as the Biden administration worked to reverse pandemic safety measures adopted by the Trump administration. According to data provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, over 40 percent of all COVID-19 cases, more than 7,500 in total, in those facilities since the pandemic began have been recorded from April to July of this year.

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