A bipartisan coalition of senators is pushing legislation to stop the repeal of Title 42 next month unless the Biden administration presents a plan to stop what is expected to be a massive surge of migrants at the border.
Five moderate Democrats and six Republicans are introducing a bill to block the move by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Title 42 is a public health measure implemented in the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Its goal was to block potential infected migrants from entering the country and allowed U.S. border agents to immediately expel border crossers.
The measure resulted in a tool to stem the massive influx of migrants across the southern border, but that tool vanishes on May 23 if nothing changes. Already there are reportedly tens of thousands of people in camps on the Mexican side waiting on the policy to change.
The measure, which would be attached as an amendment to the administration’s $10 billion COVID funding bill, would not allow Title 42 to end until 60 days after the government ends the “national emergency.” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla), one of the bill’s cosponsors, says the administration cannot have it both ways. If COVID is still a risk that warrants $10 billion in funding, Lankford explains, it is still a risk at the border.
The effects of lifting the measure will not be a surprise. The bipartisan group says Border Patrol officials are already preparing for up to 18,000 illegal migrant contacts per day and risk being overrun as the crisis deepens.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said last week that pandemic conditions have improved enough to where the expulsions at the border are no longer necessary. She cites the dropoff in cases since the wintertime Omicron surge and higher vaccination rates both in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Apparently pandemic conditions have not improved enough to where the Biden administration no longer needs $10 billion more and the U.S. no longer has a national health emergency. Without a comprehensive plan in place, lifting Title 42 will create an even more unmanageable situation on the Southern border and open floodgates for even more illegal crossings.