Joe Biden’s plan to end the Title 42 public health order that has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic to summarily expel illegal immigrants is not sitting well with some prominent Democrats. Ending the policy is expected to lead to a massive wave of new illegal border crossings that will continue for at least a year.
Multiple media reports on Wednesday indicated that the White House now plans to end Title 42 on May 23. The administration has instructed the Department of Homeland Security to prepare for the coming rush of new illegal immigrants in the meantime.
The Title 42 order was put in place by President Donald Trump in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Since then, both the Trump and Biden administrations have used the order to immediately expel a majority of illegal immigrants encountered by law enforcement at the southern border. Around 55 percent of illegals contacted in February were immediately returned to Mexico.
Many leading Democrats have demanded an end to Title 42, arguing that it is impacting the ability of border crossers to claim asylum. Biden administration officials have acknowledged that ending the order will create an immediate incentive for thousands of additional migrants to illegally enter the country. Those officials are planning on up to 18,000 new crossers per day and have made advance calls for military help from the Pentagon.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters on Thursday that he has sent the White House a letter opposing the removal of Title 42. He said that the federal government should be considering making Title 42 permanent rather than terminating it. Manchin added that could “spur us to get a good immigration policy” that will secure America’s borders.
Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) sent a letter to Biden last week demanding that Title 42 be left in place until a comprehensive plan is in place to address conditions after it is lifted. Both Arizona senators spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday to again urge that the government prepare in advance before lifting the order.
Sinema issued a statement indicating that she intends to call for a Senate hearing on the subject of lifting the order. She said that she plans to work with local leaders in her state, DHS officers, and community organizations in order to hold the White House accountable for securing the border, keeping Arizona communities safe, and giving humane treatment to migrants.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) also said that he is “very reluctant” to agree with ending Title 42 without a substantial plan in place. He added that he wants to see the State Department apply pressure to the countries of origin of most illegal migrants to “stop the flow of some of these economic refugees.”