Report: California hires border wall contractor to screen and vaccinate migrants for COVID-19

National

Workers prepare the foundation for a steel section of border wall that will be built on the Mexican side of older metal fencing dividing Ciudad Juarez, Mexico from Sunland Park, New Mexico, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. With eight days remaining in his term, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday visited a completed section of the border wall in Texas to trumpet his campaign against illegal immigration in an attempt to burnish his legacy. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

UPDATE:

SACRAMENTO, California (Border Report) — California has hired the same company that former President Donald Trump used to build the controversial border wall along the southern border to screen, test, and vaccinate for COVID-19 immigrants crossing California’s border.

Sullivan Land Services Co., or SLSCO, which is based in Galveston, Texas, got a no-bid contract from the state of California worth up to $350 million, according to CapRadio, which broke the story on Tuesday.

Newsom had been a fervent critic of the border wall, which he called “political theater.”

And in recent years, Newsom pushed the state into filing lawsuits against the Trump administration to stop the construction of the border wall, which included SLSCO projects.

According to the report, at five locations along the border between California and Mexico, SLSCO staff gave COVID-19 services to almost 60,000 immigrants.

Immigration advocates and health care leaders have reportedly been offended upon learning about California’s partnership with SLSCO.

The California Department of Public Health defended the company. In an email to CapRadio’s Scott Rodd, CDPH said it was “the largest supplier of bilingual staff” for the vaccination effort and that it “was useful in the state’s equity campaign that resulted in more Californians in underserved communities getting vaccinated.”

The San Diego-based Director of the American Friends Service Committee, Pedro Rios U.S. was critical of the CDPH’s statement, telling CapRadio, “It almost sounds like a joke to me, to use that rationale. … A number of [other] companies could have provided the same type of service,”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that CapRadio in Sacramento first reported about the Newsom administration’s hiring of SLSCO.

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