FIRST ON FOX: More than a dozen House Republicans on Friday warned the Biden administration against ending Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic — they said that such a move would be “disastrous.”
“Ending Title 42 would be nothing short of disastrous and further fuel the influx of migrants flooding our border; we will see the border crisis reach an irreversible climax,” the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, led by Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and signed by 13 other Republicans, says.
“Without Title 42, the already inundated facilities would explode with migrants, and our nation would suffer lasting and irreparable consequences,” they warn.
The Trump administration implemented “Title 42” public health restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, established through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The restrictions allow for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border for public health reasons, and has led to hundreds of thousands of migrants being quickly turned back from the border. Migrants are expelled within minutes and without the need for detention.
The Biden administration has not been applying Title 42 to unaccompanied children, even amid a significant spike in apprehensions earlier this year. It has also not been applying it to some migrant families due to Mexico’s refusal to take back families with children under 7 years old.
The administration is still expelling a significant number of migrants via Title 42 each month, despite the protestations of activists who have called for its total abolition.
In May, amid 180,000 migrant encounters, Customs and Border Protection expelled 112,302 individuals under Title 42 and 62% of all May encounters resulted in a Title 42 expulsion.
But a number of outlets, including Axios, have reported that the administration is getting ready to roll back Title 42 by the end of July. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has previously said that they would be guided by the experts and would end Title 42 when it is safe to do so — but has not given a timeline.
Donalds and his fellow Republicans have pointed to the crisis at the border, including to the number of criminal migrants and gang members trying to come into the U.S., and warned that ending Title 42 would have a damaging effect on the country.
“These border crossings have profound long-term implications for the welfare of the United States. The heroes on the ground facing this daunting task will be the first to tell you that ending Title 42 would mean one thing: complete chaos on the border,” they write in the letter to Becerra.
They go on to argue that ending Title 42 would be an “abdication of the responsibility” entrusted to the Executive Branch, and urge HHS to continue the Title 42 order.
The letter comes on the same day of Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the southern border, where she is touring CBP facilities in El Paso, Texas. Earlier this month, Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico as part of her efforts to tackle the “root causes” of the migrant crisis.
She was asked if Mexico’s refusal to take back some migrant families was discussed with the Mexican president.
“We did not discuss Title 42,” Harris said.