Fauci acknowledges Biden administration lacks 'capability' to test all border migrants for COVID-19

There are simply too many

Published: December 2, 2021 2:02pm

Updated: December 2, 2021 3:15pm

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, has acknowledged that despite new guidelines from the president about COVID-19 testing for anyone entering the country, the influx of migrants entering the country at the southern U.S. border is a "different issue" because the administration doesn't "have the capability" to test all of them.

Fauci acknowledged the situation one day before President Biden on Thursday announced updated seasonal precautions and restrictions pertaining to COVID and toward attempting to keep case numbers under control – amid the discovery of the omicron variant last week in South Africa.

So far, initial observations by members of the medical community indicate that omicron produces relatively mild symptoms, though more data is needed to understand the full-scale impact of the variant.

Among the precautions announced by Biden are U.S. and foreign citizens arriving at the border needing to present a negative COVID-19 test performed within 24 hours of departure. 

When Fauci was asked Wednesday by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy whether the new testing requirements would apply to everyone entering the U.S., Fauci responded, "The answer is yes. You know that the new regulation – if you want to call it that – is that anybody and everybody who is coming into the country needs to get a test within 24 hours of getting on the plane to come here."

When pushed on whether that applied to illegal immigrants at the border, Fauci said, "That's a different issue."

"We still have Title 42 with regards to protection at the border, said Fauci, referring to the federal government's authority to remove people who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease is present.

"There are protections at the border that you don’t have the capability, as you know, of getting somebody on a plane, getting checked, looking at a passport, we don’t have that there," he continued. "But we can get some degree of mitigation. "There is testing at the border under certain circumstances."

Testing at the border includes only those who come in contact with by U.S border agents.

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