As the Biden administration prepares to lift Title 42 on May 23, more Democrats in Congress and in the running are expressing concern about the decision and calling on the administration to reconsider or put in place a bigger plan. concrete for the influx of migrants. should arrive at the southern border.
The Trump-era public health order was put in place in early 2020 and prevented migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the border into the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 1, the Centers for Disease Control said the measure was no longer necessary from a public health perspective.
Now, more centrist Democrats like Sen. Chris Coons, D-Pa., and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who are often strong supporters of the president’s agenda, are expressing reservations about lifting the policy.
“In the area I’m from, we’re seeing an increase in infections. I think Philadelphia, for example, just went back to a mask mandate. So hopefully that will be reconsidered appropriately,” Coons said. on CBS’s Face the Nation. Sunday, referring to the lifting of title 42.
“Unless we have a well thought out plan, I think this is something that should be reconsidered and possibly delayed. I will defer judgment on this until I give the administration opportunity to fully articulate what that plan is.” Peters, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, said Monday, The hill reported.
Several leading Democratic Senate candidates are also calling on the administration to slow the lifting of Title 42. And a recent Morning Consult poll shows a majority of Americans oppose lifting the measure; while support and opposition split predictably along party lines, only 31% of independent voters support Biden’s lifting of Title 42.
White House points to DHS plan from March
So far, the White House has highlighted a plan the Department of Homeland Security released in late March that outlines preparations for a potential surge in migrant numbers. And they criticized the heist on the bipartisan $10 billion COVID relief bill. The bill was supposed to pass before the Easter recess, but Senate Republicans and some Democrats wanted to hold a voice vote on expanding Title 42.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the Secretary laid out a comprehensive plan of what they were going to do to prepare for any surge or influx. … This is something they discuss on an ongoing basis with senators, members and their teams and their staff about,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
“The main problem is that it’s being used to block and withhold COVID funding,” Psaki said.
But, beyond what DHS has already released, the White House has not offered any further details or plans.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the department is increasing its capacity to process new arrivals at the border and assess asylum claims. In recent weeks, the department has added at least 600 more border law enforcement officers and is ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination program.
Senators introduce bipartisan bill to delay lifting of Title 42 by 60 days
Coons and Peters’ comments come as a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation earlier this month to delay the end of Title 42 by at least another 60 days.
Sens Democrats Mark Kelly of Arizona and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who both signed the bill, win re-election in November, underscoring the likelihood that immigration will again be a hot issue for vulnerable Democrats this year. . .
“The Biden administration was wrong to set an end date for Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place. … We need a safe, orderly, and humane response on our southern border and our bipartisan legislation holds the line. Biden administration responsible for this,” Kelly said in a statement.
Republicans, meanwhile, are demanding answers from Biden administration officials, including Mayorkas. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the secretary to discuss the administration’s plans after the lifting of Title 42 when he appears at a House Judiciary hearing on April 28.