Two of the most vocal and incompetent governors, Rick DeSantis and Greg Abbott, have repeatedly blamed undocumented immigrants for the rise in Covid-19 cases in their states. In July, Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds claimed that “while Americans grapple with Covid restrictions, there are ‘people coming across the border that haven’t been vaccinated.'”
Members of school boards from two counties in North Carolina also blamed undocumented immigrants for causing “the increase in Covid-19 cases in the country” while discussing mask mandates during their board meeting last week. And, according to an” Axios-Ipsos survey published Aug. 3, about one-third of unvaccinated citizens believe foreigners traveling to the U.S. are the cause of the increase in coronavirus infections.” But, no evidence exists to support these claims.
While it’s true that people crossing the southern border without permission may have contributed “to the overall number of Covid-19 cases,” low vaccination rates, defiance of mask mandates, and other COVID-19 restrictions in certain states have caused the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine: “In some states, it isn’t clear that there is very much migration right now at all, although there are big outbreaks,” Caplan said. “As far as I know, the migration patterns in the past month are more north than south. That does not correlate at all.”
For example, Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of undocumented immigrants yet, it’s “currently the state with the lowest vaccination rate nationally — and it ranked third in Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people last week. In Mississippi, less than 36 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, according to government data.”
For Caplan, blaming immigrants — undocumented or not — for the recent outbreaks of Covid-19 is not only wrong, but “racist.”
“There is a very long history in the United States, sadly, of blaming recent immigrants,” Caplan said. “They are always trying to blame outsiders for ‘diseases,’ and there isn’t any evidence, particularly right now, when we know why there are big outbreaks in the South.”
“I don’t see anything except racism and bigotry behind pointing the finger at immigrants,” Caplan added.
Read more at NBC:
Facts First: Public health experts dispute the notion that migrants entering the southern border are largely responsible for exploding Covid cases across a large swath of the country. Instead, experts point to the more transmissible Delta variant and relatively low vaccination rates as primary causes of this latest wave. It’s also worth noting that some of the Republicans blaming the surge on migrants have banned mask mandates and pushed back against policies requiring vaccines.