Pence ordered border closures despite CDC experts refusing

Pence ordered border closures despite CDC experts refusing The measure caused the expulsion of 150,000 children and adults It also mainly...

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FOTO The Associated Press
  • Pence ordered border closures despite CDC experts refusing
  • The measure caused the expulsion of 150,000 children and adults
  • It also mainly affected asylum seekers

Pence close borders. Vice President Mike Pence ordered the border closures last March, even though experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refused.

According to The Associated Press, Mike Pence in March ordered the country’s main disease control agency to use its emergency powers to effectively seal the borders of the United States.

Said order was given by nullifying the agency’s scientists who said there was no evidence that the action would stop the coronavirus, according to two former health officials. So far, the action has caused the expulsion of almost 150 thousand children and adults from the country.

The top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physician overseeing such orders had refused to comply with a Trump administration directive, saying there was no valid public health reason for issuing it.

The above according to three people with direct knowledge of the doctor’s refusal.

Pence Vice President Close Borders

PHOTO: MH files

So Pence intervened in early March. The vice president, who had taken over the Trump administration’s response to the growing pandemic, called Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, and told him to use the agency’s special legal authority in a pandemic anyway. .

Also on the phone call were the chief of staff of Pence, Marc Short, and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. Redfield immediately ordered his senior staff to do so, according to a former CDC official who was not authorized to discuss the internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The CDC order covered the United States’ borders with Mexico and Canada, but has primarily affected the thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants arriving at the southern border.

Filed Under: Pence Closes Borders

Public health experts urged the administration to focus on a national mask mandate, enforce social distancing and increase the number of contact markers to track people exposed to the virus.

But Stephen Miller, one of President Donald Trump’s top aides who has been a staunch opponent of immigration, lobbied for the removal order.

That was a Stephen Miller special. He was in on all of that, ”said Olivia Troye, a former Pence senior assistant who coordinated the White House coronavirus task force. He recently resigned in protest, saying the administration had placed politics above public health. “There was a lot of pressure on DHS and CDC to push this forward.”

Title 42 of the Public Health Service Act gives federal health officials unique powers during a pandemic to take extraordinary measures to limit the transmission of an infectious disease. One of them is the ability to stop the flow of immigration from countries with high numbers of confirmed cases, a legal authority that the CDC does not normally have.

Public health experts say the administration’s pattern of dismissing science-based decision-making in favor of political goals has endangered many, including President Donald Trump himself, who on Friday confirmed that he and the former lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The decision to stop asylum processes ‘to protect public health’ is not based on evidence or science,” wrote Dr. Anthony So, an international public health expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a letter. to Redfield in April. . “This order directly endangers tens of thousands of lives and threatens to amplify dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia.”

Since the order went into effect on March 20, nearly 150,000 people, including at least 8,800 unaccompanied children who normally enjoy special legal protections under a court settlement and federal law, have been returned to their home countries without typical due process. Many have been returned to dangerous and violent conditions in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Filed Under: Pence Closes Borders

Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, who is Stephen Miller’s wife, called the account of the phone call “false.”

“Vice President Pence never addressed the CDC on this issue,” he said in an email.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrant Rights Project, described the order as “a complete detour from the entire asylum system and (the) system that protects unaccompanied children.”

“That’s what the Trump administration has been trying to do for four years and they finally saw a window,” he added.

Miller began his campaign for the order by pressuring the staff of the coronavirus task force to try to put the issue on their agenda, according to Troye. The task force did not immediately address the issue, Troye said. The administration had already passed a nonessential travel ban, which public health experts had largely supported. The CDC also rejected Miller’s idea. In early March, the agency’s Quarantine and Migration Division, led by Dr. Martin Cetron, refused to endorse the order because there was no sound public health foundation for such a drastic measure, according to three people with knowledge of your decision.

White House officials were not intimidated. They addressed attorneys from the CDC’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.In a call with CDC’s senior leadership, attorneys from both agencies urged CDC to use its public health authority to push people back at borders. Border officials said they wanted to protect their agents and the lives of Americans.

Pence Vice President Close Borders

PHOTO: Shutterstock

As of mid-March, CDC scientists were still refusing to comply. That’s when Pence and Wolf called with the message to get it done and quickly.

Then an HHS attorney wrote the order and sent it to Redfield, who reviewed it and signed it. Redfield declined to comment through a CDC spokesperson because the order is currently in dispute.

“They forced us,” said a former health official involved in the process. “It’s either do it or get fired”,

Trump described the order as originating from the CDC, when he had not. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has decided to exercise its authority … to give Customs and Border Protection the tools it needs to prevent the transmission of the virus from both the northern and southern borders,” Trump said. the 20th of March. at the press conference of the working group on coronavirus.

“So we are treating the borders equally, the northern border and the southern border,” he said. “Many people say they are not treated the same. Well, they are. ”

Filed Under: Pence Closes Borders

In recent months, Trump has highlighted the decision to close the border as an argument for his reelection in November.

And the Title 42 order has been renewed multiple times since it was first approved as a one-month temporary measure. Mark Morgan, the acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, said in August that the removals were necessary to protect his agents and that 10 CBP employees had died after contracting COVID-19.

“It’s great, it’s a great feeling to have closed the border,” Trump said that same month after receiving an update on the construction of the border wall in Yuma, Arizona. “Now people enter, if they enter, by merit, if they enter legally. But they no longer go in like they used to. “

Before March, Central American children crossing into the US alone were generally sent to facilities supervised by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS shelters must be state licensed, have beds, and provide education. Most children are eventually placed with family or friends who serve as godparents while they await their day in court.

Under this year’s Title 42 order, the administration detained some migrant children in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before expelling them to their home countries.

After witnessing a gang member murder a young man and being threatened, a 16-year-old decided to leave Honduras over the summer and reached the border near El Paso on July 4, where he was taken into government custody, detained in a hotel. and they told him they would deport him, his father said. He was allowed to stay after the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging Title 42 expulsions and in August he reunited with his father in Texas, where he now attends school online.

“I was really worried that they wouldn’t let him meet me and they wouldn’t let anyone see him, so I was waiting for them to send him back to Honduras,” he told AP his father, Carlos Emilio Barrera. “Now he is doing better because he is taking classes at school and hopes to have a chance to get asylum one day, but sometimes he still dreams of being locked up again.”

The administration’s decision not to grant migrant children their normal due process is currently being challenged in court.

Pence Vice President Close Borders

PHOTO: Shutterstock

“I don’t know how I could look another CDC scientist in the eye after doing this,” Dr. Josh Sharfstein, former FDA deputy commissioner and Johns Hopkins professor, said of Redfield. “It is undermining the purpose of having an agency that uses evidence to protect public health.

“It is a profound abandonment of duty for a CDC director.”

Filed Under: Pence Closes Borders

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