Sen. Thom Tillis broke ranks with many Trump-loving governors on Friday when he said that unvaccinated Americans are to blame for the surge in COVID-19 cases, not undocumented immigrants. The recently re-elected Republican’s statement in a Zoom meeting with a local conservative group is in direct opposition to the right-wing claims that the surge of Central American migrants is driving the country’s current COVID-19 spike.
Tillis told the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBC) on Thursday that it isn’t fair to blame immigrants for the spread of the novel coronavirus when so many Americans are refusing a free vaccine.
Tillis said that the situation in North Carolina could grow so severe in the coming weeks that an economic shutdown could be possible. “If you look at a state like North Carolina, even absent the possible threat of spreading through illegal crossings, we’ve got a real problem here with people not getting the vaccine,” he said. “I think the biggest factor right now is we have far too many people who are refusing to get the vaccine.”
The senator told CIBO members that like them, he too was “alarmed” about what he called “the record number of immigrants and the asylum process” that he said was likely allowing people from a “criminal element” to slip into the state. But he pushed back when asked whether immigrants were exacerbating the state’s pandemic situation.
— Annabel Lee (@Annabel_Lee1848) August 28, 2021
But Tillis also said he did believe unvaccinated and untested immigrants represented “a threat,” telling the group, “I would say that they may be a factor, but I think the biggest factor right now is we have far too many people who are refusing to get the vaccine.”
Sen. Thom Tillis is right – the surge in COVID hospitalizations is fueled by unvaccinated Americans, not illegal immigrants:https://t.co/z1sMpaFTI3
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) August 27, 2021
“It may very well be that they have to do a shutdown to get control over it, because our population is not helping get control over it by having more people vaccinated,” he said.