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For Immediate Release

November 9, 2021

Media Contact

Erik Villalobos,


TPS Alliance calls for swift action from Biden following WH officials allegedly Blocking Plan to Vaccinate Migrants in US Custody, citing it would invite more ‘Illegal’ crossings


(Washington DC) Following extremely troubling allegations published in the Washington Post this morning alleging White House officials blocked a plan to protect jailed migrants in US government custody from getting vaccines as part of an overall strategy to deter asylum-seeking and immigration, Mardoel Hernandez issued the following statement on behalf of the the National TPS Alliance:

“The Washington Post today published an extremely troubling report alleging the Biden administration blocked its own staff from enacting a plan to offer COVID 19 vaccinations to jailed migrants.  According to the article, senior White House officials stepped in to halt the vaccination program because they feared it would attract more immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers to the United States. 

“If accurate, this action is appalling and a moral outrage, and it demands swift action from President Biden.  If true, it means the administration intentionally chose to expose migrants to a greater risk of sickness and death so it can better pursue a dangerous and immoral political strategy to deter people seeking entry into the United States.

“We demand the facts be made public immediately about the proposed vaccination plan  and what happened to it — why it was blocked, and by whom. If the allegations in today’s article are proven true, then there are people in the Biden Administration who, at minimum, should resign and/or be fired.  If anyone in the administration made a deliberate policy choice to withhold life-saving vaccines from incarcerated people at risk of infection — and if this was done to specifically send a message of deterrence — then there must be accountability.  And President Biden must clearly and unequivocally repudiate the immorality of such a decision.   

“We will not tolerate dehumanization.  Not from Trump and not from the Biden Administration.  We are sick and tired of the racist logic underlying the policy of immigration deterrence.  Not only is it used to block our legalization, our green cards, and our political equality, it is killing people.  And it has to stop. 

“This notion that immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers should have fewer rights than native born citizens in order to dissuade others from coming to the United States must end.   Immigration deterrence has led this country down a slippery slope, and we are all complicit at this point if we don’t take action to turn things around, but leadership is required first and foremost from President Biden.   

“We call upon the President today to unearth the facts, to make them public, and to hold his staff accountable.  Once full details are known, the President Biden himself should to take steps to make things right.”– Mardoel Hernandez, TPS Holder, Executive Committee member of the National TPS Alliance


***The relevant passage from the Washington Post is here*** (See Full Article):

“Illegal border crossings and coronavirus cases were both rising this summer when a group of Biden administration officials developed a plan to vaccinate migrants in U.S. custody, viewing the shots as a sensible public health measure.

“But just before the plan was rolled out, it was opposed by one of President Biden’s top aides, Susan Rice, and other senior officials who worried that it would invite more illegal crossings. Some aides responded that migrants would not pay smugglers and take a dangerous journey just for a vaccine — but they were overruled, according to four people with knowledge of the reversal.”


The National TPS Alliance is a grassroots immigrant rights organization of over 50 committees nationwide, advocating for the permanent residency of more than 400,000 beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) 


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