Rep. Lesko: Hispanic people are 'very good workers' — but shouldn't get vaccines

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Experts say mass vaccination is needed to fight COVID-19, regardless of immigration status.

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) defended an amendment that would put undocumented immigrants at the end of the line for a COVID vaccine by saying that she personally knew that Hispanic people are "very good workers."

The amendment was proposed during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as it considered President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill.

Lesko said it was "amazing" to her that Democrats voiced opposition to the amendment.

"I worked with people that are Hispanic, I mean, they're very good workers. You know, we're compassionate people, but for goodness' sakes, we have to take care of American citizens or people that are here legally first," she said.

Lesko said she would not be able to explain to senior citizens in her state why undocumented people would be getting the vaccine along with the rest of the population.

"I just think that's totally wrong," she concluded.

While Lesko and other Republicans are determined that undocumented residents should not receive vaccines against the coronavirus, the virus itself does not discriminate based on immigration status. In order to stem the spread and achieve herd immunity, as many people as possible need to be vaccinated.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told PRI, "From a public health repercussion, you got to get people vaccinated. It doesn't matter who they are. If you're in the country, you're a threat of getting infected yourself and of transmitting the infection. So there's no room for any withholding of vaccines for people because they're part of the population that we're dealing with."

More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Arizona.

From a Feb. 11 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

DEBBIE LESKO: What I'm saying is, this is just amazing to me. I don't understand it, quite frankly. Arizona is a border state. We're compassionate people too. We have a lot of different varieties of people that live here, it's very diverse.

 

I worked with people that are Hispanic, I mean they're very good workers. You know, we're compassionate people, but for goodness' sakes, we have to take care of American citizens or people that are here legally first.

 

I'm just not going to be able to explain to my senior citizens that we're giving away the vaccines to people that aren't here illegally [sic]. I just think that's totally wrong and I yield back.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.