Earlier this week, the Republican governors of Mississippi and Texas announced that they were rescinding their respective statewide mask mandates that were put in place as part of the response to stop the spread of Covid-19. It didn't take long for the Biden administration to blast these decisions, with the president telling congressional Democrats, "The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it." This was no infamous Biden gaffe; this is the White House position. On the same day as Biden's "Neanderthal" remark, press secretary Jen Psaki responded to a press corps question about the Texas and Mississippi decisions by saying "And this entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic." She continued: "[Biden's] hopeful that people in these states will continue to follow the guidelines that have been set out and the recommendations made by health and medical experts."
The point of this post is not to opine about the merits of mask mandates and shutdowns. Instead, it is to underscore the hypocrisy of the Biden administration's immigration policy compared to its domestic policy. On Tuesday, a.k.a. the day before Biden's "Neanderthal" moment, NBC News reported that over 100 illegal aliens detained at the southern border and released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into U.S. communities tested positive for Covid-19. According to a spokesperson for Brownsville, Texas, at least 108 illegal aliens have tested positive, amounting to 6.3 percent of those tested. Some illegal aliens willing to speak to NBC News admitted their intention to travel further into the interior of the country, including to North Carolina, Maryland, and New Jersey. It is unclear what percentage of the illegal aliens apprehended at the border since late January were subject to Covid-19 testing and, of course, it is unknowable how many released illegal aliens who were not tested actually have the virus.
Unfortunately, this situation is an entirely predictable aspect of the Biden Effect. The Biden administration's refusal to enforce our immigration laws and fully utilize Title 42 authority to turn away illegal aliens at the border, and its reinstatement of the reckless "catch and release" policies that were in vogue during the Obama years, is unnecessarily enhancing the risk of Covid-19 exposure for Americans nationwide. Responding to the NBC News report, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) tweeted:
The Biden Administration is recklessly releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants who have COVID into Texas communities.
The Biden Admin. must IMMEDIATELY end this callous act that exposes Texans & Americans to COVID.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 3, 2021
Even a Neanderthal can see what's going on here. Under the Biden administration, illegal aliens have more rights and freedoms regarding virus-related issues than American citizens and lawful permanent residents and are subject to different Covid-19 "rules". American parents are currently unable to take their kids to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls because the northern border is shut down due to Covid-19. Similarly, very few Americans have the opportunity to attend sporting events, concerts, or eat in restaurants due to Covid-related shutdowns and restrictions. Americans who travel to states deemed "high risk" by their governors are subject to mandatory quarantine upon their return home (certain hypocritical exemptions may apply). Naturally, so are citizens, and their families, who test positive for Covid-19. On the other hand, these Covid-positive illegal aliens are being released by Biden's DHS and permitted to hop on a bus and travel anywhere in the country. Mandatory quarantine does not apply to these economic migrants posing as asylum seekers.
My colleague Mark Krikorian framed the "Biden Effect" in terms of the surge of illegal aliens trying to cross the border. In light of the "catch and release" policy that Covid-positive illegal aliens are benefiting from, the Biden Effect doubles as a "super spreader" event in the context of our nation's response to Covid-19.