By Allan Wall, December 9, 2020
COVID-19 has changed our lives and our society. It’s not just a medical issue. It’s a public policy and political issue.
The way we deal with COVID-19 affects civil liberties, the economy, religious freedom, and education. As a society, we don’t agree on how to deal with it.
But one thing we ought to be able to agree on is that, however we handle COVID-19 in our own country, it’s not a good idea to be bringing in even more people with the virus into our country. Isn’t that obvious?
President Donald Trump was able to shut down our borders to non-essential traffic in mutual agreements with Canada and Mexico.
The policy was put into effect last March 21st, has been renewed every month since, and most likely will be renewed on December 21st.
The U.S. State Department’s own fact sheet on the border shutdown, the Travel Restrictions – Fact Sheet states that, “The United States will temporarily limit inbound land border crossings from Canada and Mexico to ‘essential travel’.”
But how is “essential travel” defined? That’s the big question.
According to the same document, “essential travelers” include, “Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g. to receive medical treatment in the United States.”
That’s a big loophole. And it’s being taken advantage of.
The Center for Immigration Studies has published an informative article by Todd Bensman entitled, Coronavirus Patients from Mexico Crossing Border and Straining U.S. Hospitals which notes “… a significant northward Covid-19 patient migration that has gone neither broadly recognized nor considered for containment policy responses to address it.”
There’s a COVID crisis in Mexico, spilling over on to to the U.S. side. As Bensman reports, “Mexicans sick with the virus have overrun hospitals in their own cities south of the border since at least May 2020 to the point that Mexican facilities became unable to care for new patients. Left with no care on the Mexico side, unknown but significant numbers of Covid-sick patients with green cards, dual citizenship, or border-crossing cards have exploited legal loopholes in President Trump’s March 2020 emergency closure so they can reach US hospitals. Other ill crossers are American expatriates, while some were Mexican patients illegally crossing outside of the ports of entry.”
When COVID-19 is discussed in the media and the political world, this factor is being ignored, but it shouldn’t be.
As the Bensman article also points out, it’s part of the so-called Big Picture: ”At issue — in the general national failure to recognize this contribution to the U.S. hospital crisis — is whether American policy-makers might finally consider it when implementing lockdowns, social-distancing requirements, and other local U.S. policies intended to preserve hospital systems in hard-hit border states like Texas. In ordering measures that would only control for local spread that occurred inside the United States — policies that do not, of course, influence spreading behaviors in Mexico — U.S. leaderships risk repeating a consequential public health mistake that occurred during the summer and is underway again.”
According to Worldometer.com stats of December 8, five Latin American countries are in the top 15 for total coronavirus cases: Brazil at #3, Argentina at #9, Colombia at #10, Mexico at #12, and Peru at #15. (The U.S. is #1 in cases.)
For whatever reasons, Mexico has the twelfth-highest quantity of people infected by COVID but the fourth-highest death rate, after the U.S., India, and #3 Brazil.
This means that there are many people with COVID-19 in Mexico and the rest of Latin America who could come to the United States under the State Department loophole.
So what about the recently-developed vaccine? (In a debate, President Trump predicted it was almost ready and was ridiculed.) We don’t yet know how soon the vaccine will be distributed among the populations of all these countries. COVID-19 is likely to still be a problem after January 20th, when the new presidential term begins, and for some time thereafter.
Who will be President as of noon January 20th?
If people with COVID are getting in under a Trump Administration, what can we expect under a Biden/Harris Administration?