Democratic U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa said it's "not even a reality" that illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border are bringing COVID-19 here — and then proceeded to blame "unvaccinated" Americans for "spreading it."
Axne made her comments during the "Let's Talk Guthrie County" podcast on Raccoon Valley Radio earlier this week.
What are the details?
The program's host noted to the congresswoman that "Customs and Border Protection have apprehended more than 176,000 migrants from July 1st to July 28th of this year" and then asked for Axne's take in regard to illegal immigrants crossing the border with COVID-19 and possibly infecting U.S. citizens.
Here's how Axne replied:
If people 1,300 miles away are infecting us with COVID, then we've got a bigger problem than I thought. That's not even a reality. We all know that COVID can't travel like that, and we all know that, as you mentioned, folks are literally being detained at the border. So to say that people are coming into the country and spreading this ... it's so disingenuous. What we need are people in our own communities who won't get the vaccination to get the vaccination because they are the ones who are spreading it. And unfortunately we see too many people, young children, who can't get vaccinated. Their parents are very scared to send them back to school, and I can't blame them. It's very scary to know that your child is being exposed to a dangerous pandemic because unfortunately others won't wear a mask or get vaccinated. ... it's certainly not coming in from 1,300 miles away.
Despite Axne's strident declarations, last week the city of McAllen, Texas, said the CBP released over 7,000 illegal immigrants with confirmed COVID-19 cases into their community since mid-February — including over 1,500 new cases in the week leading up to the city's announcement.
Last month, fellow congressional Democrat Henry Cuellar called on the Biden administration to send additional resources to Department of Homeland Security agents at risk of contracting COVID from mostly unvaccinated migrants.
In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reportedly changed its COVID-19 guidelines to allow the Biden administration to house migrant children in shelters at 100% capacity rather than the previous 50% level to make room amid the border surge.