CNN host Brianna Keilar on Monday blamed conservatives for “demonizing immigrants as diseased spreaders” of the coronavirus, saying that there are “no facts” to back up the claim that illegal immigrants at the southern border spread the pathogen.
“There is a crisis on the border,” Keilar acknowledged Monday on CNN’s New Day.
She noted that the last time this many migrants attempted to cross the border in one month was two decades ago. In July, according to unofficial counts, Customs and Border Protection faced more than 200,000 people at the southern border, and June was not much lower at 188,000 migrant encounters.
“So yes, President Biden has a real problem on his hands here, and his critics are capitalizing on it,” Keilar said.
President Biden has a border crisis on his hands – no doubt.
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 9, 2021
She went on to accuse former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of “echoing the tone of far-right extremists when it comes to immigration reform.”
Gingrich said on Fox Business that, “what’s hard for most of us to accept is that the anti-American left would love to drown traditional classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law. And I think that when you go and you look at the radical left, this is their ideal model, is to get rid of the rest of us because we believe in George Washington or we believe in the Constitution.”
“That is awfully close to what’s known as the Great Replacement Theory, the theory that white people are being replaced by non-white people, especially immigrants,” Keilar said.
The CNN host also pointed the finger at several former Trump administration officials who called for a temporary halt to legal immigration.
“Some conservative lawmakers and pundits, some of the same ones arguing against masking in schools to protect unvaccinated children, are saying Covid-19 is a problem but only at the border,” Keilar said.
She added that there is “no evidence that they’re responsible for the COVID surge in U.S. communities,” referring to migrants.
“It is the centuries-old trope of demonizing foreign people as diseased. The R-naught on that virus is sky-high, and these conservative voices know that,” she said. “They’re the vectors here infecting Americans they profess to care about with misinformation. And the rising case numbers, the lagging vaccination numbers are proof of that.”
Last week, the Texas border city of McAllen said that more than 7,000 migrants who tested positive for the coronavirus have been released by Customs and Border Protection into the city since February. More than 1,500 migrants with the virus have been allowed into McAllen over the past week, the city said.
Single adults and some families have been sent back over the border under Title 42, which allows migrants who were recently in a country where a contagious disease was present to be expelled. However, unaccompanied children and migrant families with young children are being processed by U.S. border authorities and then into U.S. communities.
On Sunday, The Washington Post editorial board called on President Biden to come up with a “coherent strategy” to handle the situation at the border.