The White House is no denying it is sending COVID-19 vaccine doses to Mexico in return for help curbing the flow of migrants from Central America.
The Biden administration announced earlier this week it will ship 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Mexico, along with over 1 million to Canada. That prompted some contentions from Biden critics that the new president is using the inoculations to compel Mexican officials to stop groups of migrants heading to their northern border with the United States.
White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was pressed on whether part of the vaccine deal was a sort of quid pro quo on rounding up groups of Central Americans — which would amount to the Biden administration reviving a Trump administration policy by luring Mexican officials to help ease an influx at the border.
So, as you can imagine, when you’re, when you’re having … conversation with countries, different countries … you’re talking about different issues, right,” she told reporters traveling with President Biden to Georgia on Air Force One. “And so that is … what’s happening there, there are just conversations on different issues, and yes [the] pandemic, which is, you know, unprecedented, is part of those conversations that we’re having in a parallel way.”
At another point in her back-and-forth with an NPR reporter, Jean-Pierre said the COVID-19 virus knows “no borders.” That means the U. S. wants to help its neighbors with efforts on “mitigating the infections.”
She then appeared to link the Mexican vaccine shipments directly to migrant flows, saying it is also key to be “getting help on the Central American migration, getting help from Mexico.”