democratic-party” target=”_blank”>Moderate Democratic senators< public health order which has been used at the border to rapidly expel migrants — raising fears of a colossal migrant wave this summer.
“I think they should reconsider,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters on Thursday. “I sent a letter, I’m against removing Title 42.”
“If anything we should be looking at permanency on Title 42,” he said. “Maybe that would spur us to get a good immigration policy that works for Americans and secure our borders — the borders have to be secure,” he said.
Multiple outlets reported Wednesday that the Biden administration is planning to announce that it will end Title 42 on May 23, giving the Department of Homeland Security time to prepare for an expected increase in migrants at the border.
The order was implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and has since been used by both the Trump and Biden administrations to expel a majority of migrants at the border. In February, approximately 55% of migrants were returned due to the order.
Oct. 19, 2021: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., chairs a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Activists and top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called for the end to the policy, arguing that it is preventing migrants from claiming asylum. But Republicans and border officials have warned that ending the policy will encourage more migrants to make the journey north — and also result in more migrants being allowed in.
That ending Title 42 would supercharge the ongoing border crisis — where authorities are already mass releasing migrants due to overcrowding and continued high migrant traffic — has been tacitly acknowledged by the Biden administration. Biden administration officials have been reportedly planning for numbers of up to 18,000 migrants a day, and have put out calls for volunteers and help from the Pentagon.
The White House on Wednesday acknowledged that “there will be an influx of people to the border” when the Centers for Disease Control lifts the order. Meanwhile, DHS put out a fact sheet for its plans to deal with an increase in numbers.
While advocates and left-wing lawmakers have focused on the rights of foreign nationals — many of whom have traveled through multiple countries to claim asylum in the U.S. — more moderate senators have expressed concern about the chaos that could result.
July 28, 2021: Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, listens during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S.
(Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Manchin had sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky warning that, with the rise of the BA2 subvariant, it was not time “to throw caution to the wind.”
Meanwhile, Arizona Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema wrote to President Biden last week, warning him against ending the policy without a comprehensive plan in place. On Wednesday, they spoke to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about Title 42, with their offices saying they underscored how the border state could suffer if the policy is ended without a plan.
Sinema, who is Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Border Management, said she told Mayorkas she intends to hold a hearing on the matter.
“Ending Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place puts at risk the health and safety of migrants and Arizona communities,” Sinema said in a statement. “We’ll keep working with Arizona local leaders, DHS agents and officers, and community organizations serving on the front lines of the migrant crisis to hold the Administration accountable to ensure we secure the border, keep Arizona communities safe, and ensure the fair and humane treatment of migrants.”
Kelly said there is “still not an adequate plan or sufficient coordination to end Title 42 without further straining our law enforcement, border communities, and nonprofits providing humanitarian assistance to migrants.”
Feb. 8, 2022: Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) speaks during a press conference following the weekly Democratic caucus policy luncheon in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
“We’ll continue to push the Biden administration for the resources and support Arizona needs amid this crisis at our southern border,” Kelly said. His office said he also asked for details about how increased funding approved in the recent omnibus for border management and security could be used.
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Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told CNN he was “very reluctant” for the administration to end without a real plan in place.
“I would be very worried about this notion that the border will be overwhelmed, and I really want to hear a specific plan with adequate personnel, and frankly I would like to see the State Dept. do more pressure on some of these countries, particularly Northern Triangle countries, to try and stop the flow of some of these economic refugees.”