The White House reported on Monday that it would revisit policies placed in place by President Donald Trump that "eschewed scientific credibility" – while also coming under criticism for health procedures at the border's increasingly crowded migrant facilities.
Biden ordered the study in January, calling for suggestions to direct potential scientific discoveries, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced Monday that it would be in charge of it.
"OSTP's Scientific Integrity Task Force will conduct a whole-of-government, forward-looking examination of research across federal agencies," a spokesperson for the office said in a statement, "in part by reviewing activities that were antithetical to that goal over the last four years – including Trump-era policies that eschewed scientific integrity in favour of politics."
The agency stated in a memo that it would examine the policies to see whether they prevent undue political intervention, withhold or misrepresent facts, support diversity among scientists, and promote fair delivery of government program.
It's uncertain which policies will be examined, but President Trump has sparked controversy by making comments that seem to contradict CDC guidelines, such as on masks, testing, and other precautions.
However, the news of the review comes as the Biden administration has been chastised for abandoning certain social distancing steps and an alleged lack in testing in regards to border migrants.
More than 100,000 migrants were met by Customs and Border Control in February, and the figure is expected to skyrocket in the coming months. More than 5,000 unaccompanied children are held by CBP, while more than 11,000 are held by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The administration has assured migrant facilities that they should open to 100 percent capacity in response to the crisis, while retaining other COVID-prevention measures.
Images of crammed environments, with children side-by-side, have sparked outrage from Republicans and others in recent days, escalating the controversy.
"This is inhumane, it is incorrect, and it is the direct result of the Biden administration's policy decisions to avoid building the wall, return to catch-and-release, and end the stay-in-Mexico policy," said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at a press conference on Friday.
Furthermore, the administration has been chastised for not monitoring children in CBP facilities, despite later testing them at other facilities.
Last week, an administration official said, "We are not doing testing inside Border Patrol facilities." According to the official, they are only screened when they are "transferred" to other admission facilities operated by departments such as HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"We use a mix of onsite contract medical services and referrals to local health systems to provide medical care for individuals in custody who need medical attention," CBP said in a statement to Fox News last week.
"Initial inspections for COVID-19 symptoms or risk factors are conducted by CBP staff, who coordinate with onsite medical personnel, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or local health systems as required. Medical staff on site can provide basic evaluations and supportive care, but suspected COVID-19 cases are referred to local health systems for testing, diagnosis, and treatment "According to a spokesperson. "These COVID-19 procedures are compatible with long-standing CBP procedures for preventing communicable disease transmission."
According to a CDC spokesperson, "Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities are currently housing a growing number of people, including children, and this is leading to an increased risk for COVID-19 outbreaks in these congregate settings." "Additional preventive precautions, such as testing, masking, and isolation and quarantine space for individuals with COVID-19, have been recommended by the CDC in these ORR facilities as they increase capability, to minimize the risk of an outbreak."
Republicans have blamed President Biden's swift reversal of Trump-era border security for the migrant influx. Biden, on the other hand, has blamed Trump for the shutdown of parts of the asylum scheme.