Republicans on the House Oversight Committee ask a legitimate question of the Biden administration – why is Title 42 ending along the southern border while other COVID-19 policies are still in place? Some mandates like face masks and vaccines are still in effect so why end Title 42 before those mandates are phased out?
The House Republicans sent a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas on Tuesday that posed the question of timing. Specifically, the lawmakers point to the coming “catastrophe” due to ending the policy on the southern border.
“The administration has decided to prioritize rescinding this order over rescinding mask and vaccine mandates for the American people,” they write, before warning about more chaotic scenes at the border.
“Immigration experts predict that rescinding the CDC’s Title 42 order will even further overwhelm U.S. Border Patrol officers and facilities. DHS must adequately prepare to respond to the impending border surge to prevent exacerbating the ongoing national security and humanitarian catastrophe,” they say.
The fact is that since Biden took office, there has been a consistent flow of illegal migrants across the US-Mexico border. The flow noticeably increases at certain times – remember the thousands of migrants sheltered under the international bridge in Del Rio? – but the administration has never taken seriously the humanitarian and public health crisis created by Biden’s actions, or a lack of action. On Friday, for example, there were approximately 8,000 encounters at the border according to one source. Border law enforcement, including Border Patrol agents, are overwhelmed and detention facilities are full. On May 23 when Title 42 ends, everyone admits that the Biden border crisis will explode. DHS Secretary Mayorkas, however, wants us to believe that the department is making plans to handle the situation. If the situation is not under control now, before it gets even worse, why would we believe that DHS and others in the administration will be able to handle what is expected to come?
If we’re following the science, and the CDC thinks it is ok to end Title 42 in May, then why aren’t pandemic mandates ending everywhere? Title 42 is a public health policy that is put in place during extreme times, like the coronavirus pandemic. CDC recommended that the previous administration put it in place when the pandemic began as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus at the southern border. Clearly it is a reasonable policy, as Biden has kept it in place. It’s one of the only policies Biden kept in place from the previous administration to deal with border security.
The House Republicans on the Oversight Committee ask for all documents and communications related to the lifting of Title 42 between CDC and DHS. There is a particular concern about cartels who will benefit from loosening control of the border. Human trafficking and drug trafficking is already a multi-million dollar enterprise along the border, made worse by Biden’s lack of attention. What plans will be in place to target cartels and increase space for detainees?
“The decision to rescind CDC’s Title 42 order is basically gifting a pandemic relief package for Transnational Criminal Organizations that control the human smuggling routes and crossings,” they say. “Cartels have already profited from the lawlessness bringing contraband, including highly lethal fentanyl, and criminal aliens into the U.S. This will continue, but at an accelerated rate.”
Biden’s plan for our border is to keep it open. By revoking Title 42, our nation will see a surge in sex, human, and drug trafficking AND an unprecedented number of illegal immigrant encounters. Watch my remarks at @GOPLeader’s press conference with my @HouseGOP colleagues here: pic.twitter.com/RU4Ns74QZK
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) April 5, 2022
Mayorkas claims there is a fact sheet detailing a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to deal with the impending escalation of the Biden border crisis.
“We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Free vaccinations for illegal migrants is on the table. More detention facilities are being prepared for the next surge, apparently. DHS has been busy closing them since Biden took office so we’ll see how that all works out. We know that illegal migrants are currently being released on “parole” and given phones to keep in contact with government agencies. The use of a parole policy is supposed to be limited and rarely used but Mayorkas is incorporating it into use as a way to relieve overcrowding on the border. I wrote about that last month.
Sources tell me w/ parole releases, the migrants are asked to turn themselves into ICE in a city of their choice. I’m told many of them are given these phones by the government to track them and allow them to communicate w/ ICE, but there’s no way to stop them from being tossed. pic.twitter.com/tAogWloQgy
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 5, 2022
Mayorkas has stated in recent weeks that unaccompanied minors are allowed to stay, and most families are, too. However, he insists that single adults are turned away at the border. This is proven not to be the case, as we see from reporting along the border.
Yet another mass release of single adult migrants from federal custody at this parking garage in Brownsville. Fourth bus today. First the women get off, then the men. We’ve seen zero children/minors released. BP sources tell me they’ve been releasing hundreds here daily. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/xdCaNz7Pvz
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 5, 2022
Bill Melugin, a Fox reporter, is one of the few who have been on the southern border and reporting on the Biden border crisis. Townhall’s Julio Rosas is another who is keeping us informed.
This shows how dangerous it is to try to cross the Rio Grande without a boat. The group of migrants got swept away by the current and were screaming for Border Patrol and TX National Guard to help them. One BP agent got into the water to prevent a few from drowning. pic.twitter.com/WLvbbGuHm4
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) April 5, 2022
Democrats know that the Biden border crisis and immigration policy will be at the forefront of the midterm elections. Even left-leaning online publications like Politico are reporting on that fact. Politico even admits that there is little reporting being done about the crisis on the southern border but the lifting of Title 42 will force other news outlets besides Fox to cover it. Politico tried to deliver a snarky dig at Fox for its focus on the border but it only shows its own bias and allegiance to the Biden administration. A recent poll is cited that shows a majority of Americans oppose lifting Title 42.
But even if he does, one big takeaway from Tuesday’s clash is that immigration has returned to the center of politics in a major way. (Just turn on Fox News.) The spring migrant surge at the border, especially after May 23, when Title 42 officially ends, will be dramatic. Our latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll (more below) shows that 56% of voters oppose Biden’s Title 42 decision, including 88% of Republicans, 52% of independents and 26% of Democrats.
Politico points out that moderate Democrats are as vocal as Republicans in their disapproval of lifting Title 42. They see the writing on the wall. There is a red wave, likely a red tsunami, coming in November and immigration politics are going to be an important issue.
There is a good chance that if a vote on the Title 42 amendment were allowed, it would pass. Most of the vulnerable Senate Democrats up for election this year, such as MAGGIE HASSAN (N.H.), RAPHAEL WARNOCK (Ga.) and MARK KELLY (Ariz.), have leveled stinging criticism at the Biden administration for rescinding the policy without a detailed plan to grapple with the increase in migrants. Moderates who aren’t in tough races, such as Sens. JOE MANCHIN (W.Va.), KYRSTEN SINEMA (Ariz.) and JON TESTER (Mont.), have joined them. Progressives have just as forcefully pushed Biden from the opposite direction, and if the Covid bill is sent to the House with language reinstating Title 42, it is unlikely to pass. Even if it somehow did, it’s hard to see Biden signing it into law.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is going to lead a delegation to the southern border later this month.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announces he will be leading another trip to the border later this month. https://t.co/vlvuorGwj7
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 3, 2022