EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn discussed the importance of vaccinations and the possibility of Afghan refugees coming to Fort Bliss during his visit to El Paso on Tuesday.

The Republican lawmaker started the day by touring the migrant facility for unaccompanied minors at Fort Bliss. He then visited University Medical Center El Paso where he met with hospital and county leaders and thanked a group of nurses for their work throughout the pandemic.

Cornyn said he chose to visit El Paso due to the community’s high vaccination rates, which he said serve as an example to the rest of the state.

El Paso currently has 71 percent of its eligible population fully vaccinated and 84 percent partially vaccinated.

“Congratulations to all the El Pasoans who’ve been vaccinated,” Cornyn said. “That’s an incredible accomplishment.”

“That means you’ve saved lives,” he continued. “You’ve freed up hospitals beds for people suffering from other illnesses.”

The senator declined to comment on Gov. Greg Abbott’s continued resistance to mask mandates in the wake of the Delta variant surge across Texas, saying he would let Abbott speak for himself on the matter.

On the topic of the crisis in Afghanistan, Cornyn confirmed Fort Bliss is currently preparing should it need to house Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of their country.

The senator said Fort Bliss could accommodate up to 10,000 refugees if needed.

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