Texas Dem Says Biden’s Title 42 Repeal Will Be Exploited By Criminal Orgs Near US-Mexico Border
© AP Photo / Elliot SpagatMigrants waiting to cross into the United States wait for news at the border crossing Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Tijuana, Mexico.
© AP Photo / Elliot Spagat
Democratic lawmakers in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire have said that the Biden administration has not adequately prepared for a surge in border crossings ahead of its May 23 deadline for Title 42, a Trump-era expulsion policy which uses COVID-19 and public health as the basis for the expulsion of migrants seeking asylum in the US.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) on Sunday said that US President Joe Biden’s administration should stop listening to so-called “immigration activists” and instead heed the concerns of officials and southern border communities amid the final days of Title 42, presently set to expire on May 23.
"They need to listen to border communities," Cuellar said. “Who's listening to the landowners, who's listening… to the judges, the county judges, the sheriffs, the mayors, and the border communities?”
“They are very concerned because they are on the front lines, and they’re the ones I think we need to listen to,” he said of US border personnel.
Cuellar, since 2005, has served as the representative for Texas’ 28th congressional district–which spans from the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, to the US-Mexico border.
“How can we have the federal public emergency extended to July 15 and say there’s a pandemic going on in the United States, but at the border, everything’s fine and just let people into the United States?” he posed. “Those are mixed messages.”
19 December 2021, 03:42 GMT
Cuellar, who has been in touch with the White House regarding the southern border, announced on April 21 that the administration would be moving US border personnel from northern to southern stations to assist with a historic surge of migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border.
The May 23 expiration of Title 42 also threatens to expose the Democratic Party to immigration-based attacks from Republican counterparts ahead of the November midterm elections.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak penned an open letter to Biden on April 20, similarly requesting reconsideration of the rollback.
The Democratic governor said that while it is time to “reevaluate public health measures” regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, “lifting Title 42 without a measured, comprehensive plan would create chaos at our border and make it more onerous for families attempting to immigrate legally.”
© AP Photo / Eric GayA group of migrant families walk from the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas, near McAllen, Texas, March 14, 2019.
A group of migrant families walk from the Rio Grande, the river separating the U.S. and Mexico in Texas, near McAllen, Texas, March 14, 2019.
© AP Photo / Eric Gay
Biden’s administration has argued that the decision to return to Title 8 is necessary in the US’ movement toward comprehensive immigration reform.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday acknowledged that the decision to not extend Title 42 could bring “significant challenges” for the federal government.
“We have been planning for months to address increases in migration; those that we already have experienced and those that we might experience upon an end to Title 42,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez late last week.
The administration’s plan includes “acquiring and deploying resources to address increased volumes,” per White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Skeptics have raised that the department’s movement of officers, agents, and DHS volunteer force personnel from northern to southern border stations is not enough to quell the anticipated surge.
Criticism materialized last week as 21 US states requested a federal judge in Louisiana to block the Biden administration from ceasing Title 42. A day later, the administration countered with a request to deny the request.
“Plaintiffs fail to show that they face a significant, non-speculative threat of injury,” the US Department of Justice argued in an April 22 filing. “In fact, they cannot. DHS continues to prioritize Title 42 expulsions to the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.”
During his CBS interview, the security chief notably professed that the DHS is “operating within the confines of a system that is entirely broken, and that is long due for legislative fix.”
He also noted that the record 221,303 migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border is not a measurement of unique encounters. Those repeatedly turned away at the southern US border will be subject to criminal prosecution, Mayorkas claimed.