By Patrick Delaney
According to newly obtained government documents, almost 22,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have sought religious or medical exemptions from the Biden administration’s federal employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and all of these requests remain unprocessed.
After significant delays, the watchdog group Functional Government Initiative (FGI) obtained records after requesting documentation on numbers of applications, approvals, and denials for such exemptions.
A July 6 press release from FGI explains that “the documents that FGI received reveal that 22,000 DHS employees are at risk of termination for not bowing to the Administration’s demand that they receive multiple injections of the COVID-19 vaccine. These employees submitted religious or medical exemption waivers as required by DHS but have yet to learn how the department will handle their waiver requests. As a result, DHS has left these employees and their families wondering from week-to-week whether they’ll continue to have a job.”
FGI warns that key agencies essential to U.S. national security could see an enormous loss of employees if the applications are not resolved.
According to The Epoch Times, the exemption requests come from more than 8,100 Customs and Border Protection employees, 5,800 Transportation Security Administration workers, and 2,800 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.
“This uncertainty not only affects DHS employees and their families but also affects national security and the untamed border crisis,” FGI’s statement reads. “DHS cannot afford to lose a single employee. Laying off 22,000 employees would be a huge step in the wrong direction and put America’s national security at risk.”
Last September, Joe Biden issued a flurry of mandates requiring millions of American workers to receive experimental COVID-19 gene therapy injections, including approximately 3.5 million federal employees.
These mandates provoked a litany of lawsuits that eventually brought them before the Supreme Court, which on January 13 opted to block the private employer mandate while allowing the health worker mandate to remain in effect pending final resolution of the case.
Making its own way through the courts, a group of about 6,000 federal employees calling themselves Feds for Medical Freedom (FMF) successfully sued the Biden administration in district court challenging the constitutionality of the mandates.
On January 21, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, ruled against the mandate for federal employees, citing the Supreme Court’s judgment against the mandate for private workers issued a week earlier.
“The Supreme Court has expressly held that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is not an employment regulation,” Brown wrote at the time. “And that means the President was without statutory authority to issue the federal-worker mandate.”
After an appeal by the Biden administration, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Brown’s injunction in April before a three-judge panel, though the White House held off on enforcing the federal employee mandate until certain “procedural steps” were completed.
However, on June 27, the 5th Circuit agreed to reconsider its April ruling and reinstated the earlier injunction of the mandate until the case could be adjudicated before the court’s full 17 judge panel. Initial oral arguments are tentatively scheduled for the week of September 12.