Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Tuesday placed partial blame for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases on immigrants crossing into the U.S. from its southern border.

"Part of the problem is the southern border is open and we’ve got 88 countries that are coming across the border and they don’t have vaccines so none of them are vaccinated and they’re getting dispersed throughout the country," Reynolds said to reporters, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Register notes that Reynolds has been a vocal critic of President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE's handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. She recently sent 29 state troopers to the southern border at the request of Texas.

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Health experts have largely attributed to the recent surge in cases to the more infectious delta variant, which has now become the dominant strain in the U.S. The surge has also been dubbed the "outbreak of the unvaccinated" as people who are not immunized against COVID-19 have been disproportionately affected by this recent surge.

Joe Henry, state political director for the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, said to the Register that Reynold's comments amounted to "hate-mongering."

"For her to cry wolf about this doesn’t seem to make sense in light of the fact that she hasn’t done the work here in Iowa to make sure that everybody gets vaccinated," Henry said.

According to state data, around 47 percent of Iowa's total population is fully vaccinated. Reynolds has acknowledged that the vaccination has slowed, the Register reports, but she has still touted the vaccination rate, despite missing her desire for a 75 percent vaccination rate.

Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party's Latinx Caucus, Patricia Ritchie, also condemned Reynolds' remarks.

"I just think that she needs to be educated in what is appropriate, as far as cultural diversity," Ritchie told the newspaper. "I take it as nobody has taken the time to explain it to her."