A former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official from the Trump administration said that the agency determined that the order to close the southern border was not necessary to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, former deputy director of the CDC, told congressional investigators “no” when asked if the order was needed to prevent the spread of the virus, according to The Hill.

The Hill note that this could have an impact on President Joe Biden’s administration, which has kept the policy in place and defended it as a public health measure. Litigation over the issue is currently ongoing, although the U.S.-Mexico border has been reopened. 

“We are doing this out of a public health need,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a September press conference, according to The Hill. “It is not an immigration policy. It is not an immigration policy that we would embrace.”

“The bulk of the evidence at that time did not support this policy proposal,” Schuchat added, noting that the focus was to find “the least restrictive means possible to protect public health.”

Schuchat said that “at that time, there was a lot more disease in the U.S. than south of the border.” 

She later said that “the focus on reducing spread on our side of the border was critically needed.”

When asked about the former CDC head of Division of Migration and Quarantine Martin Cetron’s decision to sign the order, Schuchat said that “his view was that the facts on the ground didn’t call for this from a public health reason, and that the decision wasn’t being made based on criteria for quarantine.” 

She added: “It may have been initiated for other purposes. So I don’t think he was comfortable using his authority to do that because it didn’t meet his careful review of what the criteria are.”