New York Times White House correspondent Zolan Kanno-Youngs said Sunday on CNN’s “Inside Politics” that the Democratic backlash to the Biden administration’s decision to lift Title 42 “shows the anxiety of what high border crossings would mean politically.”
Host Abby Phillip asked Kanno-Youngs about his recent piece in the New York Times on the administration’s move to repeal the Trump-era public health order and the resultant concerns that Democrats could get crushed in the midterms.
“We are now seeing more Dems than we’ve seen since Title 42 was implemented by the Trump administration that have come out in support of restoring this thing or have come out criticizing the Biden administration’s plan to lift it,” Kanno-Youngs said, noting that Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-GA., has even come out against the plan to lift it. He said that the concern was “reflected in the White House.”
The New York Times reporter said that President Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain in the Summer of 2021 was also approaching senior aides “saying yes, this is something, this is an issue that could impact the midterms here.”
“…As well as the entire team within the White House and DHS as well at times scrambling for to try to find a solution, even if it was embracing Trump-era policies at the border to try and deter illegal crossings. It really shows that deterrence, and it shows the anxiety of what high border crossings would mean politically,” Kanno-Youngs continued.
The New York Times’ piece, written by Kanno-Youngs, Eileen Sullivan and Michael D. Shear, is headlined “Disagreement and Delay: How Infighting over the Border Divided the White House.”
The paper reported that discussion over repealing the former president’s immigration policies in the face of an infux of migrants at the southern border caused bickering among senior aides and White House officials.
“Mr. Biden grew so angry at their attempts to duck responsibility that he erupted,” the piece said, noting that Biden asked who he needed to “fire.” The piece also noted that almost all the aides that were brought on early in his presidency have left their positions.
As President Biden’s tenure in the White House hits the 100-day milestone, media watchdogs and journalism professors alike have noticed that journalists are "overwhelmingly favorable, polite, and gentle" when covering the current administration.
The New York Times reported that both Klain and Susan Rice, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, were worried that lifting Title 42 would increase the migrant surge at the border and that it might be seen as premature if a potential new COVID variant emerges.
Several Democrats have slammed the decision to lift Title 42 as they consider warnings of a migrant influx at the border in the coming months.
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 30: U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration, during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. Cuellar urged the Biden administration to name former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as a border czar. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, recently signed on to legislation that would halt the lifting of the measure. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly are among other Democrats that have warned against ending Title 42.
“Ending Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place puts at risk the health and safety of migrants and Arizona communities,” Sinema said.
The Biden administration announced on April 1 that Title 42, a public health order, would be lifted at the end of May. The policy was used by both the Trump and Biden administrations to immediately deter migrants from crossing the border in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the Centers for Disease Control said in a statement.