Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott took a strong stand that the Biden Administration’s immigration policy was going to lead to widespread coronavirus infections, making the rounds on cable news networks Thursday lambasting the plan to revoke Trump-era rules, but Abbott failed to mention that the reason the federal government isn’t funding coronavirus testing for migrants is that the paperwork is sitting on his desk in Austin unsigned, CNN reports.
The Department of Homeland Security set aside funding to pay for county health departments in Texas to test migrants coming across the border for coronavirus. It also provided monies for testing migrants already living in Texas communities, but in order to disperse the money, the governor, Greg Abbott himself, must sign off on the funding. Abbott has failed to do so.
After having that inconvenient fact pointed out to him, Abbott attempted to blame the Biden Administration for his state’s inability to follow through on the policy, claiming that it wasn’t a public health issue, but a border security issue.
“Border security is strictly a federal responsibility. The federal government alone has the responsibility to test, screen and quarantine illegal immigrants crossing our border who may have COVID,” Abbott said in a statement. “Instead of doing their job, the Biden Administration suggested it did not have the sufficient resources and, remarkably, asked Texas to assist them in aiding their illegal immigration program. Texas refused.”
Abbott recently made the surprise announcement that he was authorizing the repeal of all coronavirus regulations and allowing all businesses in the state to reopen “100 percent.” Abbott reportedly did not consult with state or federal health officials before the announcement, and it’s been widely decried by public health and medical professionals, given that Texas infection rates have recently increased. Abbott likely made the move as a public relations effort to refocus attention off his disastrous handling of a recent winter storm that led to millions being without power and hundreds of thousands still being under a “boil water” advisory weeks later.
“We hope that Governor Abbott will reconsider his decision to reject DHS’s agreement with the Texan local authorities that would enable the very testing of migrant families that Governor Abbott says he wants,” a DHS spokesperson told CNN..