Fauci admits Biden administration is flouting CDC guidance in border facilities

"Obviously, everyone would like to see that situation fixed," Fauci said in a tense exchange with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Published: April 15, 2021 1:52pm

Updated: April 16, 2021 7:58am

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Thursday conceded in a tense exchange with Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise that the Biden administration is violating major Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus guidelines by packing countless illegal immigrants into relatively small facilities without enforcing social distancing or masking measures. 

The CDC has aggressively pushed those guidelines over the past year, directing that Americans should work to remain six feet apart from each other in public spaces and wear face coverings when away from the home. 

Images from U.S. border facilities over the past several weeks, however, have shown little enforcement of those guidelines among illegal immigrants detained amid the current surge of unlawful migration at the southern border.

At a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on Thursday, Scalise —the House minority whip and the ranking member of the subcommittee — grilled both Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on the Biden administration's COVID enforcement among illegal immigrants. 

Holding up pictures of densely packed immigration facilities, Scalise asked Fauci: "Dr. Fauci, does this look like social distancing to you that you require when you talk about six feet?"

"No," Fauci replied. 

Holding up more photos of packed facilities, Scalise asked further: "You can see all of these young children who are next to each other six inches apart, many without masks — by the way, does that follow your guidance that you've issued?"

"No," Fauci replied again.

"Do you think that sends the right message to America — [where] people are trying to recover and get back to their way of life — that if you're a citizen, you follow this set of rules, but if you come here illegally, you don't have to follow any of your rules?" Scalise asked further. 

"No doubt it's a very difficult situation at the border, Congressman Scalise," Fauci fudged, arguing later that "everyone would like to see the situation get fixed."

Fauci did not respond to a request for comment on the Biden administration's lack of guidelines enforcement in immigration facilities, including whether or nor he has advised President Joe Biden on the issue and/or whether or not he believes those facilities are helping spread COVID-19 in the U.S. to any appreciable extent. 

The Biden administration in March directed child migrant facilities to expand to their pre-pandemic capacity levels, claiming the "extraordinary circumstances" of the recent surge necessitated such a decision. 

The CDC warned the Biden administration at the time that facilities should enforce measures such as masking requirements in an effort to keep COVID levels down in the crowded detention centers. 

The failure to enforce coronavirus safety measures has drawn rebuke elsewhere from congressional representatives. New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis told Just the News editor-in-chief John Solomon this week that the U.S. is experiencing "a flow of individuals coming from the southern border with some displaying the symptoms of COVID, and nothing's being done about it."

"[They're] being jammed in each facilities [with] 250 capacity, there's 4,000 individuals, so it's very dangerous, and many have just been released back onto the streets, where they can go spread COVID," she asserted.

Last month, meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told media that a visit to a migrant facility in Donna, Texas, revealed similar overcrowding conditions.

"There [is] a series of cages in which children are lined up," he said. "They're not six feet apart, they're not three feet apart. They are lying on the floor."

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