California Says It Can No Longer Afford Aid for Covid Testing, Vaccinations for Migrants

by | Feb 22, 2023 | Health

All day and sometimes into the night, buses and vans pull up to three state-funded medical screening centers near California’s southern border with Mexico. Federal immigration officers unload migrants predominantly from Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, and Peru, most of whom await asylum hearings in the United States.

Once inside, coordinators say, migrants are given face masks to guard against the spread of infectious diseases, along with water and food. Medical providers test them for the coronavirus, offer them vaccines, and isolate those who test positive for the virus. Asylum-seekers are treated for injuries they may have suffered during their journey and checked for chronic health issues, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

But now, as the liberal-leaning state confronts a projected $22.5 billion deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state can no longer afford to contribute to the centers, which also receive federal and local grants. The Democratic governor in January proposed phasing out state aid for some medical services in the next few months, and eventually scaling back the migrant assistance program unless President Joe Biden and Congress step in with help.

California began contributing money for medical services through its migrant assistance program during the deadliest phase of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago. The state helps support three health resource centers — two in San Diego County and one in Imperial County — that conduct covid testing and vaccinations and other health screenings, serving more than 3 …

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