Kamala promises millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico – fully open border next?

Kamala Harris took a break from preparing for her upcoming trips to Vietnam and Singapore to participate in a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). He asked for more COVID-19 vaccines and she agreed. AMLO also wants the U.S.-Mexico border to be fully opened, as it was before the pandemic. No agreement has officially been reached on that topic.

We can note the irony of AMLO asking for the border to be re-opened at this time, given that the Delta variant is raging through Mexico and states like Texas at the moment. Also, the Biden border crisis is still with us, the number of illegal migrants flooding the border is at a historic high. AMLO no longer allows apprehended migrants to be sent back across the border as he did in Mexico’s agreement with the Trump administration, the Remain-in-Mexico policy. The migrants waited in Mexico for their asylum claims to be heard. Most of the thousands of migrants camping along on the Mexican border now are waiting for their opportunity to illegally enter the United States.

Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced during a press briefing this morning that the Biden administration will send 3.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine “in the coming weeks.” The United States previously sent 1.35 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines meant to be distributed among all northern Mexican border states went only to Baja California. Let’s hope the next few million doses are distributed to the areas most in need along Mexico’s entire northern border to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 into the United States. The Biden administration and its mouthpieces in the press want you to think that COVID-19 isn’t playing a part in the current surges in cases in states like Texas but they are gaslighting Americans about that. Biden’s border crisis has brought both a humanitarian crisis and a public health crisis.

AMLO told Kamala that it is paramount that Mexico receives more vaccines in order to more adequately vaccinate its residents. Mexico’s assistant secretary of health said that as of late July, 43% of Mexico’s population 18 and older had received at least one vaccine dose. That would make sense as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was previously sent to Mexico. It’s a single-dose vaccine.

President Obrador said this next round of donated vaccines would be used as part of Mexico’s general distribution plan without specifying whether the vaccines will go to a specific region of the country.

Mexico has made a recent push to vaccinate more people living along its northern border. Secretary of Security and Public Safety, Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez, said her staff has vaccinated 85.7 % of Mexicans 18 and older in 45 cities within six northern border states. That effort included 440,515 doses of the Pfizer vaccine given to people in Ciudad Juárez.

Rodríguez Velázquez said her staff would be back in the state of Chihuahua starting Aug. 25 to administer the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

As mentioned above, AMLO is antsy for the border to be re-opened to non-essential traffic, as it was pre-pandemic. Canada re-opened its border to vaccinated Americans yesterday. Free movement between the U.S. and Mexico, however, will be subject to the easing of the Biden border crisis and mitigation of the pandemic. A delegation of eight U.S. officials is meeting with AMLO today, including Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Ebrard said the visit is part of a series of ongoing visits between U.S. and Mexican officials to both countries. Among the subjects Mexico leaders will discuss are reopening the U.S.-Mexico border to “non-essential” northbound travelers and the influx of Central American immigrants journeying through Mexico in hopes of reaching the U.S.

The U.S. has continuously extended restrictions that prevent Mexican citizens with visas from crossing into the U.S. via land ports of entry since March 2020, citing health concerns during the ongoing pandemic. However, U.S. citizens have freely crossed into Mexico throughout the pandemic, even before vaccines became widely available.

The U.S. last extended its land-crossing restrictions from Mexico to Aug. 21. According to Ebrard, Mexico is taking its cues from the U.S. about when the reopening will happen.

“We’ll see what Mayorkas tells us today,” Ebrard said.

Secretary Mayorkas told reporters in a visit to El Paso this June that lifting the restrictions at the southern border will be subject to health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s crazy to be considering re-opening the border with Mexico at this time. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have illegally crossed our border and that isn’t slowing any time soon. Re-opening the border should be used as a bargaining chip for more cooperation from Mexico to stop the flood of migrants coming across as well as distributing the vaccines the U.S. provides in strategic areas first – like a full concentration along the northern border of Mexico. That just makes sense.

It’s unclear when the vaccines will be delivered to Mexico. As with most announcements by the Biden administration, no real details were given. Moderna’s vaccine isn’t approved yet by Mexico’s health regulator Cofepris. The Biden administration is working with both Mexico and Moderna to resolve legal and regulatory issues so that the vaccines can be donated. The Mexican Foreign Minister expects the Moderna vaccine to be approved in Mexico soon. Overseeing vaccine acquisitions and importation falls to the Foreign Minister.

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