EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Biden administration’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate officially went into effect on Monday, meaning that all federal employees must have been fully vaccinated, or they could possibly lose their jobs.

President Joe Biden announced in September that more than 3.5 million federal workers were required to get the vaccine, and no option is being given to get weekly COVID-19 tests instead.

A spokesperson from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that 7% of TSA agents have not met the deadline, meaning that about 4,200 agents nationwide might lose their jobs right before the holidays.

Travelers at El Paso International Airport had mixed reactions, with Hope Needling saying, “I feel that with the vaccines people shouldn’t necessarily be at risk of losing their jobs because of their own beliefs and stuff like that.”

Others, like Charles Capel, disagree,

“I think, I’d hate to say it for their safety and others yes, because if not it’s just going to continue to spread right?”

In addition, according to members of Congress, upwards of 5,000 border patrol agents may lose their jobs because of the federal vaccine mandate. This as illegal crossings at the U.S. -Mexico border soared to an all-time high in the Fiscal Year 2021. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that there were more than 1.7 million apprehensions at the Southwest border during that time.

However, October also marks the third straight month of declining unauthorized migrant encounters along the Southwest border. 

According to County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, proving any type of exemption from the mandate will be very difficult,

“They’re very strict and you just can’t say religious without proving that you haven’t taken a vaccination prior to that. So they’re limiting the options of saying, I’m not going to take it because of X because they really have to prove that, that in fact is the case.”

Samaniego says that he expects the mandate to impact 10 to 12% of border agents.

In a previous interview, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said that even though people threaten to walk off the job, in the end, it turns out to be a small minority,

“We are probably bound to lose some folks who have chosen not to fulfil the requirement and that is their choice. If they don’t want to meet the requirements in the work place then their choice is to leave.”

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas

As for U.S. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, he previously said that it is a “major problem” for the administration to threaten to fire Border Patrol agents during the border “crisis.”

“This is dangerous to national security, if we don’t have agents on the field protecting our border from terrorists, something bad is going to happen and its going to be because of this administrations failed policies.”

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, issued an executive order in October banning any entity in the state of Texas from mandating vaccines.

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