Guy Farmer: COVID-19 on the U.S.-Mexico border

While California Gov. Gavin Newsom and many of his fellow Democrats continue to push for "open borders," COVID-19 cases are increasing along our southern border, straining local medical facilities in Southern California and beyond.

The respected Wall Street Journal reported last week that hospitals in the border city of Chula Vista, Calif., "are struggling to cope with a large number of COVID-19 patients, an influx they attribute to legal crossings from Tijuana, one of Mexico's cities hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic." Although the medical crisis along the border isn't attributed to illegal immigrants – excuse me, undocumented workers – you can understand how "open borders" would exacerbate the problem. In March, before the U.S. closed the border to non-essential travelers, more than 531,000 pedestrians and some 1.6 million vehicle passengers crossed the border into San Diego County at San Ysidro.

"Scripps Health says it is near capacity for patients with COVID-19… at its Chula Vista hospital," the Wall Street Journal article continued. "Sharp HealthCare, which owns Chula Vista's largest hospital, had to turn away ambulances during some busy days in April," the Journal added, describing Tijuana as "a magnet for Mexican and foreign migrants seeking to enter the U.S…" Is it ever!

"San Diego County has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in California, behind only populous Los Angeles and Riverside counties,” the Journal continued. "Chula Vista and nearby communities have the highest rate of infections per 100,000 people and the number has been rising … The crisis south of San Diego illustrates a new threat: that Mexico's struggles to tackle the pandemic could spill over into the U.S." Apparently, however, it already has.

Meanwhile, Newsom and open borders advocates want to roll out the welcome mat for millions of illegal immigrants, and give them millions, or even billions, of taxpayer dollars worth of "free" benefits, including health care, not to mention "sanctuary city" policies that encourage more illegal immigration. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal aid from sanctuary cities and I think he should because those cities are openly violating our immigration laws.

States and cities – including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland – that welcome illegal immigrants should pay the price for doing so and not look to the federal government for multi-million or billion-dollar bailouts. Carlos Mora, founder of the Migrant Affairs Council in Baja California, Mexico, told the Journal that "some migrants deported from the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19." My guess is that "some" could mean hundreds, or even thousands of illegal immigrants.

In a joint statement issued in March by the Mexican and U.S. governments, both governments recognized "the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility (that is, tougher border controls) along our shared border." That sounds fine but I'm pleased that construction is moving forward on Trump's "big, beautiful" border wall that Mexico was going to pay for. Remember that whopper?

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf visited Arizona last week to check on border wall construction. He found that 181 miles of walls ranging in height from 18 to 30 feet have been erected along our southern border since Trump took office in January, 2017, and 190 miles more are currently under construction. That's good news for those of us who believe in secure borders and the Rule of Law.

I'm glad the federal government is paying attention to our southern border during the coronavirus crisis because public safety is a top priority.

Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.


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