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Biden Admin to Lift Title 42 at End of May Despite Fears of Bigger Migrant Surge

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Biden Admin to Drop Title 42 at End of May Despite Fears of Bigger Migrant Surge

On Friday, Pres. Joe Biden’s administration announced that it will stop the implementation of the Title 42 public health policy that was used by both the current and previous administrations to expel migrants at the U.S. southern border quickly since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The administration said it’s set to drop the policy by the end of May, despite many fearing that a huge migrant wave will come in the next few months.

In a statement, the CDC said: “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.”

Despite being a public health order and not an immigration policy, the said directive has become one of the most vital border policies implemented while the country continues to face a crisis with the rising numbers of migrants at the border. Back in February, around 55% of migrants have been returned due to the order instead of being released into the U.S. interior.

For months, many activists and left-wing Democrats have been urging the Biden administration to end the implementation do the policy. They say it is cruel and that it denied migrants due process.

“This is a momentous day for immigrant rights activists, and immigrants and refugees everywhere,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement. “Title 42 was a cruel and discriminatory policy that circumvented U.S. law, preventing people from accessing protections established by Congress. Today is the product of years of advocacy from both inside and outside Congress. I’m thrilled to see the Biden Administration do the right and moral thing by ending this extremely harmful, xenophobic, and shortsighted policy that disproportionately impacted Black and Brown migrants.”

Many Express Worry Over Lifting of Title 42

However, Republicans, several moderate Democrats, and even law enforcement at the border have all said that they’re worried this would result in a migration surge that would overwhelm Border Patrol and exceed the already-record-breaking numbers back in 2021. Stephen Miller, a Former Trump administration White House adviser, stated that lifting the policy would “open the floodgates on a biblical scale.”

In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “At every opportunity, Biden has enacted policies that open our southern border, empower drug smugglers and human traffickers, and make American communities less safe. Joe Biden has overseen the worst border crisis in DHS history … By removing Title 42, Biden’s doubling down on his commitment to actively worsening the crisis he created.”

Several Border Patrol officials have spoken to news outlet Fox News and said that stopping the policy would result in what one of them described as “surge on top of a surge” as news indicating will spread among migrants that they will not be deported. Many also believe that there are a lot of migrants in Mexican cities who are just waiting for Title 42 to drop.

The said policy will be dropped on May 23, giving the Homeland Security Department some time to get ready for what the Biden administration has admitted to being an influx of migrants coming in from the border.

On Friday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed that his department had already “put in place a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”

Mayorkas said in a statement: “We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection. We will increase personnel and resources as needed and have already redeployed more than 600 law enforcement officers to the border. We are referring smugglers and certain border crossers for criminal prosecution. Over the next two months, we are putting in place additional, appropriate COVID-19 protocols, including ramping up our vaccination program.”

However, many Border Patrol agents are skeptical about whether they can prepare for what the DHS has estimated encounters to be likely up to 18,000 migrants per day. Border Patrol is already overwhelmed and overcrowded at the current rate migrants are entering the border.

“If there’s a strategy in place, we haven’t seen it, it hasn’t been disseminated to us and there’s no way you can prepare in a month and a half for what is expected to be a mass illegal migration crisis,” said Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council. “The only thing this administration is going to be able to do is just release people on a mass scale, that’s it, that’s all they can do.”

Even moderate Democratic lawmakers have expressed their concern about the administration’s decision. For one, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the Biden administration should “reconsider” its decision.

“If anything we should be looking at permanency on Title 42,” Manchin 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.

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