Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), criticized the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42 border policy at May’s end. He called it “frightening” and warned that the “extraordinary numbers” will “only get worse” over the coming months.
Manchin stated that “Today’s announcement from the [Centers for Disease Control] & the Biden administration are a frightening decision.”
The CDC announced it would be lifting Title 42, a public health policy that was used by the Trump and Biden administrations to expel migrants quickly at the southern border following the outbreak of COVID-19, on May 23.
“After taking into account current public health conditions, and the increased availability of tools for fighting COVID-19 (such high-effective vaccines and therapeutics), CDC Director determined that an Order suspending entry to migrants to the United States is not necessary,” the Centers for Disease Control stated in a statement earlier Friday.
Title 42, while a public health order and not an immigration policy is now one of the most important border policies as the U.S. continues to face a crisis at the border. The order resulted in approximately 55% of migrants being returned to their homelands, instead of being allowed into the U.S.
Top Democrats and left-wing activists have been calling for this move for months.
However, moderate Democrats are concerned that this move could lead to an increase in the already large number of people crossing the border.
Manchin, who called on the administration this week to make Title 42 permanent said that Title 42 was “essential” for fighting COVID-19, and controlling migrant flows.
He stated that “we are already facing an unprecedented rise in migrants this year” and warned that the Administration should end the Title 42 policy. We are not nearly ready to handle that influx.”
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He stated that Title 42 must remain in place until comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform is implemented. This will ensure that we secure our borders and provide a pathway to citizenship to qualified immigrants.
The move was not opposed by only one Democrat. Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly expressed concerns to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the possibility of ending the order. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) expressed concern about the upcoming migrant wave.
She stated that prematurely ending Title 42 will likely cause a migrant wave that the administration doesn’t seem ready for.
The administration has attempted to minimize those concerns. Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS Secretary, claimed Friday that DHS had “set up a comprehensive and whole-of-government strategy for managing any potential increase in migrants encountered at our borders.”
He stated that he was increasing his capacity to handle new arrivals, assess asylum requests and remove those who are not eligible for protection. We will increase our personnel and resources as necessary and have already deployed more than 600 law enforcement officers at the border. We will refer smugglers as well as certain border crossings to criminal prosecution. We will be putting in place COVID-19 protocols that are appropriate and effective over the next two-months, including increasing our vaccination program.