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Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said on Tuesday that migrants coming from the U.S.-Mexico border are partially responsible for rising COVID-19 cases in some parts of the nation.
Reynolds made her comments during a press conference as her spokesman, Pat Garrett, shared a Fox News report claiming 135 detainees in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of July. The report asserted that there has been a 900% increase in confirmed cases in the past 14 months.
"Part of the problem is the southern border is open and we’ve got 88 countries that are coming across the border and they don’t have vaccines, so none of them are vaccinated, and they’re getting dispersed throughout the country," Reynolds told reporters.
In June, Reynolds announced that up to 30 state troopers would go to the U.S.-Mexico border for an indefinite time period. Numerous other Republican-led states, including Florida and Ohio, have sent personnel to aid federal agents handling the influx of migrants at the southern border.
As cases of the coronavirus have risen in recent weeks, the Iowa governor noted her state fell short of her goal to have 75% of adults vaccinated by June. So far, 49% of Iowa residents have been fully vaccinated, and 65% of adults have received at least one shot, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the state have nearly doubled in the past month, with 106 patients reported on July 28.
On July 21, University of Iowa epidemiologist Dr. Michi Goto said he is concerned some parts of the state could see localized outbreaks mirroring similar outbreaks in parts of Missouri, a state also dealing with new cases spurred by the delta variant, according to the Des Moines Register.
Joe Henry, state political director for the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, called Reynolds’s comments "hate-mongering" during an interview with NBC News and said Iowa's pandemic situation "has nothing to do with immigrants."
"For her to cry wolf about this doesn’t seem to make sense in light of the fact that she hasn’t done the work here in Iowa to make sure that everybody gets vaccinated," he said.
The Biden administration has faced bipartisan backlash as unprecedented numbers of migrants continue to flood the southern border. In June, agents encountered roughly 190,000 attempted illegal crossings, a 21-year high after previous months shattered records.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Iowa governor faults unvaccinated migrants for rising COVID-19 cases