Vaccine mandates are a direct violation of Americans’ personal freedoms, Rep. Andy Biggs says.
“It’s what a tyranny would do. It’s what an authoritarian government would do,” the Arizona Republican told The Daily Signal.
He says he grew concerned when White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the government’s community outreach targeted neighborhoods, and President Joe Biden implied that such outreach was targeted:
It made me think, maybe they have a database, right? So, if they’ve got a database, where are they getting that information? How is that information coming to them?
Are they violating [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] laws? What is going on with it?
I actually wrote a letter to the president asking him these things, which we’ve heard nothing back on. But I view it as a tremendous violation of our rights to privacy.
Listen to the podcast or read the lightly edited transcript below.
We also cover these stories:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appoints Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to serve on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
- Nearly 60 organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, demand that health care workers get the coronavirus vaccine, pointing to the spreading delta variant of COVID-19.
- The Dixie Fire in Northern California is just over 20% contained and continues to spread after merging with the smaller Fly Fire.
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Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Congressman Andy Biggs of Arizona. Congressman Biggs, welcome back again to “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
Rep. Andy Biggs: It’s so good to be with you, as always.
Del Guidice: It’s great to have you with us. So, I wanted to start off by talking about the vaccine mandate and the door-to-door announcement that we had come out of the Biden administration.
Jen Psaki, the press secretary, had said very recently, about a week or two ago, that there’s going to be targeted community-by-community, door-to-door outreach, checking on whether people have been vaccinated or not. What’s your perspective on this announcement?
Biggs: Well, it’s what a tyranny would do. It’s what an authoritarian government would do. And when she said it was targeted neighborhoods, and President [Joe] Biden implied it was targeted, it made me think, maybe they have a database, right? So, if they’ve got a database, where are they getting that information? How is that information coming to them? Are they violating HIPAA laws? What is going on with it?
I actually wrote a letter to the president asking him these things, which we’ve heard nothing back on. But I view it as a tremendous violation of our rights to privacy. Think about it. What place do you think that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Even the Supreme Court says in your home.
The second thing is, what do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy about? What do most people keep hidden from the rest of the world? Their money and their health. And they want to basically invade your privacy. And that’s what a tyrant would do.
Del Guidice: On that note, and you mentioned the violation of HIPAA rights, but how is this basically a further encroachment of Americans’ personal freedoms?
Biggs: Well, because of what they also said, that they’re going to try to reeducate individuals who’ve made a decision. So, what it means is, they want to get authority and control of you by controlling your health decision. See, you follow that? If they’re trying to get a hold of you and find out whether you’ve done what they want you to do, guess what? They are trying to control you. And that is expanding everywhere in this society. And that’s the problem.
Del Guidice: So, what does this door-to-door announcement from the Biden administration say in general about the state of personal freedoms and where, down the road, this could go potentially?
Biggs: Well, there’s almost no limit. We’re already on the edge of that now with some of the other things they’re doing. And their partnership with big business, big banks, to find out what people’s ideas are, maybe encourage them to take action.
So, you take that and you couple it with the fact that they also announced that they’re going to work with social media, like Facebook, to take down things that they believe are not true. And they said, “Well, we can’t take it down.” They said they’re going to encourage them to take them down. Guess what? There is a move to regulate Facebook.
Well, what do you think Facebook is going to do if the party in power says, “We want you not to do this,” or, “We want you to take these types of things down, we want you to change your algorithm”? They’re going to respond. That’s called fascism. That is what fascism does, is this unholy alliance between big government and big business.
So it should alarm and alert every American that this regime, which is now a regime, it’s not an administration, it is a regime of totalitarians, needs to be stopped.
Del Guidice: Point-blank, should Americans be forced to take the vaccine?
Biggs: No, absolutely not.
Del Guidice: I’ve talked about this with friends and something that I have mentioned is, … well, we all had our measles, mumps, rubella, we all had our vaccinations, but we never had to go to our school or go to an airport and prove that to anyone. It was no one’s business. So why is this something we’re talking about now?
Biggs: Well, again, I sound like a one-note piano, it’s control. They want absolute control of you. Think back about it. It was lockdown, so they didn’t care what happened to the economy. They said it was an inconvenience, that’s what [Dr. Anthony] Fauci described it as. They didn’t care about the mental health problems that came with the lockdown, or this mask.
Think about masks. You’re not wearing a mask, I’m not wearing a mask. No one at this event is wearing masks, but I got to wear a mask on the plane, even though we’ve reached herd immunity, according to many scientists. And if you have a vaccine, that’s what a vaccine does. It’s supposed to immunize you against other people who might be carriers, ostensibly.
So, you shouldn’t be afraid of me if you’ve had the vaccine, right? If I don’t have the vaccine.
And the second thing is, adults get to make choices on risks all the time. We do on whether we’re going to eat something a certain way, or how we’re going to drive, places we’re going to go. We’re adults. That’s what freedom’s about, is making choices and being held accountable for those choices, not by the government, but by the natural consequences of those choices.
Del Guidice: I want to talk to you about the situation at the border as well. You come from a border state. We talk about this a lot. We’ve been to the border a bunch of times together. Customs and Border [Protection] waited until about mid-July to release the June numbers. And those numbers, I believe, are the highest for this time of year in 20 years. What’s your perspective, No. 1, on that late release of those numbers? And then No. 2, just where we’re at right now with the, I think it’s about 190,000 crossings, perspective?
Biggs: Well, it’s getting worse. Every month, since February, has been a new record, both for that month, but also for overall. And that’s because there’s been no policy change since late January, when the Biden administration cut out all the policies that were working on the border.
But the second thing is, so you want to know why they did that? Well, why they did that is because it’s too bad. They’re trying to bury it along with other news. They were trying to look for the middle of the summer, when everybody’s on vacation. Try to bury it as much as they possibly can.
But here’s the other thing about that, there’s a whole lot we could talk about, Rachel, because you’ve been with me at the border. You know this. They have talked about this week being the week that they’re going to eliminate Title 42.
Now, Title 42, for people that don’t know what that is, that allows the Border Patrol to deny entry based on health emergencies, like COVID.
And the people coming across, they’ve got COVID and CBP is not testing them. They turn them over to the charitable organizations called [nongovernmental organizations], or type of NGO, and those NGOs are testing people then.
And if you don’t have COVID, if you don’t respond to a rapid test, they will release you somewhere in the country. If you do have COVID, they’re going to put you up in an area hotel, and not make sure that you’re there for this quarantine period. People can leave that hotel anytime they want.
It would be absolutely the final gas on the fire to get rid of Title 42. I was talking to experts last week. They told me that all of the southern border will look like McAllen, [Texas,] which is getting about 2,500 to 3,500 a day, if Title 42 goes away. And the Biden administration wants it to go away badly.
Del Guidice: Well, before we got started, you were telling me about your most recent trip to the border and a situation with a young child, a young girl, crossing over, wanting to find her mom. So many people who watch mainstream media don’t know these stories. Can you tell us about what you saw, and especially that encounter with that little girl?
Biggs: Yeah. So, I was meeting with an agent, and he actually shared a series of photos of small children under the age of 7. And that’s a Biden policy issue that would take a few minutes to explain, but let’s just say this 7-year-old girl in question, she was there, he asked her, “Where are you from?” She’s from Central America. “Where are you going in the United States?” She said, “I want to go to Detroit.” “Why do you want to go to Detroit?” “Well, my mom’s in Detroit.”
Now, think about that. What happened is, mom hands that child off to the “coyotes.” These are inhumane people. We’ve all seen videos of them dropping kids over the fences. Most people don’t know that they’ll throw them into the Rio Grande river if we try to stop that raft from coming across the river. They will do that to turn it into a rescue instead of an interdiction.
And so what they did is they reunite that child with the mom in Detroit. They call her up, because the child has it written on the inside of her pants, called her up. “Yes, that’s my child.” She’s illegally in the country, the mom is, and the child is. If you and I did that to our child, the child would be taken away from us, and we would be charged with crimes against that child.
What we do or what this administration’s doing, we are reuniting. We’re reuniting that kid with a mom who basically put her in with some wicked, inhumane human traffickers. And we say, “That’s fine and well.” That’s the outrage of what’s happening on the border. And that happens over and over.
He showed me a series of pictures, just taken in the last few weeks. I saw a bunch of unaccompanied children. And when I say a bunch, we were out there for an hour that evening. Over 150 individuals crossed the river at that time.
Del Guidice: So we’re about seven months into, I believe, the Biden administration, what is the morale of the Border Patrol right now?
Biggs: It’s about as low as I’ve ever seen it. They feel like they’re getting kicked in the tail end every day. They’re doing a mission that’s not theirs. Their mission is to secure the border, that’s what it’s always been. And they’re told that they can’t secure the border.
Half, or more than half, are basically taking care of this other Donna facility, which is packed still. And they’re doing that kind of duty. They’re doing processing and paperwork. You have the temporary facility in McAllen, literally thousands of people every day. And that’s what these agents are doing.
So instead of returning the people and securing the country’s border, they are actually providing, as one of them told me, “We’re the logistics. We’re delivering these people all over the country. Cartel brings them to the river, gets them across the river. We then take them and we put them wherever they want.” The morale is very low.
Del Guidice: We talked about the increase of the June numbers that just got released in July. Should Congress hold a hearing on what’s happening? I know you’ve mentioned something, I believe, similar on Twitter. What do you think should happen to address the crisis?
Biggs: Well, we should be holding hearings, but the Democrats control, so we’re not going to get those hearings, as you know.
I’ll give you a few things right now that would operationally bring this under control within about two to three weeks. No. 1, Joe Biden has to stand up and say, “Stop coming. We’re not going to let you in.” Kind of like what [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas told the Cubans and Haitians who were fleeing a tyrannical government. That’s what you would say.
And the second thing you would do is, you’d make sure that Title 42, all of it, not the changes they’ve made, but all of 42 is in place. You’d reinstitute the “Remain in Mexico” policy. You’d reinstitute the asylum and international agreements with the Northern Triangle states of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. You would stop giving $1,400 to illegal aliens based on the CARES Act. You would finish building the fence. You would move your immigration judges to the border to deal with the asylum claims and the other claims immediately and forget about your backlog because you have an emergency on your border.
And if you did those things right there, this thing would slow down very quickly.
Del Guidice: When we were at the border, and I know you’ve taken other lawmakers there, there’s an elementary school that gets locked down, Palominas Elementary School, I believe, in Cochise County, because of all the cartel violence that happens and the drug loads that are picked up and dropped off right across the street from the school, maybe even sometimes on school property, essentially. What are some other practical ways where local people see the impact of what’s going on right now in border areas?
Biggs: First of all, if you’re a rancher or a farmer, you’re going to have damage done to your ranches or farms. I was talking to a farmer on this recent trip. He says, “Well, we don’t get much damage. They cut fences and stuff like that.” OK. But they have to repair those fences. And other places, if you’ve got livestock, they’ll lose livestock, the fence is down. We’ve had water taken. We’ve had burglaries. We’ve had violence committed in Arizona and various places against people close to the border. Now that’s that.
We’ve had one community where these people were just released in the community and there’s no services whatsoever. And it was such a small community, they didn’t have vehicles to transport these people to Phoenix to try to get services.
And these communities budget so much to take care of community services and needs. And then you’ve got some nongovernment organizations that participate. And right now, all of them are at capacity and can’t fully deliver all those services.
So you have that going on, you have the release of violent criminals in some places. In the Rio Grande Valley, for instance, the number of stash houses I want to say has got to be close to 200 that they have found this year.
And don’t forget the other inhumanity, Rachel, we can just talk about this forever. I’m sorry, but look, you have trucks, they’re just filled with people. There’s not enough air, there’s not enough space. They’re in these trucks.
You’ve got Suburbans over in Southern California, in the Mexicali area, coming north to El Centro, where they’ve taken all the seats out of the Suburban, except for the driver’s seat. And they throw 25 people in there. And we’ve seen those vehicles get in accidents, either with other vehicles, and most of those people are killed, or else you have rollover accidents.
So you have just a myriad ways that this is impacting the border states. But the drugs, we haven’t even talked about the drugs, but that’s impacting the entire country. Over 90, I think it’s 93,000 overdose deaths this year. And I think it’s twice as high as any number in the past. And part of that is because opioids are flooding across the border.
Del Guidice: And we all know people, tragically, who have overdosed on opioids. So it’s something that we continue to deal with, you’re exactly right.
Before we wrap up, I want to ask you about your legislation I believe you have to remove the mask mandate on transportation. Tell us about that.
Biggs: So, it’s really simple. It says you can’t mandate masks on any kind of public transportation. So, right now on planes. So, we’re here at this, and there are conferences all over the place in free places. Not like [Los Angeles], again, where [the] only thing I’ve ever agreed with that that sheriff in LA County says [is] that violates [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and is against the science put out by CDC.
And so, I sit on a plane, and planes have some of the best ventilation systems in the world. They do. And I’ve talked to them about that. And we’re sitting there side-by-side and people have vaccinated. We’ve reached herd immunity. It’s ludicrous. And it’s another avenue. It comes back to where you and I started just minutes ago: control. It’s all about control.
Del Guidice: Well, Congressman Biggs, thank you for being with us yet again on “The Daily Signal Podcast.” You’re a veteran, it’s always good to have you with us.
Biggs: Thanks, Rachel. Good to see you again.
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