SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s a push in Congress to require immigrants to be tested for COVID-19 at the border. Some lawmakers say there is a health crisis at the border. Republican Roger Marshall introduced legislation that would provide resources for COVID-19 testing at the border. It would ban migrants from being transported further into the u.s. without a negative test.
It passed 88 – 11. Two senators who voted against it were Democrats Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan.
Steve Pearce, the Chairman for New Mexico GOP shares, “They’re willing to support our kids having to wear a mask in school, required vaccinations, all of that for citizens but not willing to say that if you’re coming into the country either legally or illegally that you should be tested for COVID and then the appropriate measure being taken.”
The senators who voted against this amendment believe there are concerns regarding the lack of transportation for migrants if they test positive, leaving them far from entry ports or healthcare.
“A mother who is in labor and needs to go to a hospital immediately, according to your language, they cannot be transported unless they have a negative COVID-19 test. I would say to you, `doctor, that is not good medicine, that is not humane.’”
KRQE reached out to Senator Heinrich and Senator Lujan.
A joint statement says, “Senators Heinrich and Luján have a long-standing record of strongly supporting COVID-19 testing and vaccines to put an end to the pandemic. They secured historic relief in the American Rescue Plan that ramped up our efforts on COVID-19 testing and vaccines, which not a single Republican in Congress supported. Senator Marshall’s non-binding amendment prohibiting transport until after receiving a negative COVID-19 test would have jeopardized the safety of Border Patrol agents, violated the law, and is out of touch with the realities of protecting our southern border.”
Under this provision, migrants will be quarantined and not transported from the border until they test negative. The amendment must be passed in the House before being signed by the president.