Former health officials say CDC initially refused to order closure
NEW YORK, N.Y. (KYMA, KECY) - Two former officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say Vice President Mike Pence used an emergency order to shut down U.S. borders after agency leaders refused to do so.
The Associated Press (AP) reports the CDC's top doctors did not want to close borders because they saw no valid public health benefit in doing so. Sources told AP, the agency was pushing for a nationwide mask mandate instead. It also wanted to devote more resources to contact tracing.
However, when Vice President Pence assumed leadership of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he used an emergency order to close the borders between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. He then instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement the order.
This allowed DHS to put a hold on all asylum proceedings, and legal immigrant processing along the Southern Border. The order also led to the expulsion of more than 150,000 men, women, and children.
Critics say the administration wrongly used emergency public health powers to forward its political agenda.
Supporters of the action say it prevented potentially infected immigrants from bringing the coronavirus into southwestern states.