On Tuesday, the Biden administration reluctantly acknowledged it would comply with a federal court order and not eliminate the border-control health order, Title 42, put in place by former President Donald Trump.
Title 42 allows for detaining or refusing immigrants permission to enter the country due to COVID-related concerns.
The Biden administration continues to support mask and vaccine mandates but at the same time has pushed for Title 42 to be repealed.
Biden’s border policies have made it possible for approximately 2 million illegal immigrants to cross the border with impunity in 2021. Angry border state governors report a “surge” in crime and drug activity.
Border concerns have made headlines in recent weeks. Texas has sent at least ten busloads of immigrants to Washington, D.C. Florida has threatened to send illegal immigrants to President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware. Homeland Security Secretary has been ordered to testify before a congressional committee and is threatened with impeachment for dereliction of duty.
On Monday, a federal judge signed off on a request to issue a temporary restraining order preventing President Biden from lifting Title 42, scheduled to end on May 23. According to Politico, on Tuesday a “senior [Biden] administration official” said: “If and when the court issues the TRO [temporary restraining order] the department is planning to comply with that order.”
The senior administration official continued:
“It really makes no sense to us that the plaintiffs would demand, and the court would order, that [Department of Homeland Security] be stopped in its use in expedited removal, which is going to prevent us from adequately preparing for the aggressive applications for immigration law when public health expires.”
Some Republicans described the administration’s response as tone deaf.
Also on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security released a plan to address the expected surge of migrant crossings following the end of Title 42. However, the “plan” seemed to note more anticipated problems than solutions. An excerpt from DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ statement noted: “When the Title 42 public health order is lifted, we anticipate migration levels will increase, as smugglers will seek to take advantage of and profit from vulnerable migrants.”
Mayorkas added: “Despite the efforts of our dedicated DHS workforce and our partners executing this comprehensive plan, a significant increase in migrant encounters will substantially strain our system even further.”
The statement comes amid reports that up to 18,000 migrants per day could attempt to cross the border if Title 42 ends. That number elevates illegal border crossings to more than 500,000 people per month, dwarfing last year’s record 2 million reported crossings.
The fight against repealing Title 42 has been led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its decision to end the public health order.
“The Defendants now seek to eliminate their Title 42 border-control measures, which are the only rules holding back a devastating flood of illegal immigration,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit added: “But they failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act in attempting this destructive rescission of Title 42. Without justification or concern for Texans, the Defendants unlawfully disregarded the APA’s notice-and-comment requirements, refused to consider numerous factors of crucial importance to their rulemaking, and laid bare the incoherence of their decision-making.”
The Daily Wire notes that “at least 10 Democrats in Congress” oppose President Biden’s plan to end Title 42. Among them is Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly.
In an interview with Fox News, Kelly said: “Right now, we have a crisis on our southern border. Right now, this administration does not have a plan. I warned them about this months ago.”
“It’s going to be, to be honest, it’s going to be a crisis on top of a crisis,” he added.
After visiting the border, Kelly also posted his concerns to Twitter:
“I heard directly from Border Patrol leadership about operational challenges and discussed with them my concerns about the administration’s intent to lift Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place. My focus is on ensuring an orderly, humane, and secure border process.”
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