We’ve heard a lot lately about the Biden administration’s plans to revoke Title 42, the portion of a 1944 public health law that allows the federal government to turn migrants away due to health emergencies. The Trump administration invoked Title 42 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. has used it to expel 1.6 million illegal immigrants, most of them single adults. But the Biden administration is looking to lift Title 42 effective May 23.
One Mexican government official is warning of what could happen if the administration does revoke Title 42, and it ain’t pretty. The Daily Mail spoke with Enrique Lucero, director of the Direction of Attention to Migrants of the Municipality of Tijuana, about Title 42, and he said that lifting it would bring “chaos.”
“We hope that the United States is very clear about how it will receive all those asylum applications once Title 42 is eliminated because it is not clear whether they will do it in person at the border or if they will do it online,” Lucero told the Daily Mail. “If they do it in person, there will be chaos at the border because everyone will want leave the shelters and arrive at the border and stand in line. So that’s going to create chaos for them and us.”
Other advocates for keeping Title 42 in place have pointed out how important it still is to look out for the public health of Americans. Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) wrote in favor of keeping Title 42 at The Hill.
“With the prospect of an immediate influx of 1 million migrants — arriving in large groups and from countries where infection rates are high and vaccination rates are low — ending Title 42 without a back-up plan for controlling the southern border is an engraved invitation to a resurgence of COVID in the U.S.,” Mehlman points out. “It will be virtually impossible to screen that many people for the virus, or other infectious diseases, before sending them on their way to communities across the country.”
Mehlman also cites the fentanyl crisis as another reason to keep Title 42 in place.
“Along the overwhelmed Texas border, fentanyl seizures were up by an astounding 1,066 percent in 2021, an indication that the profit-driven cartels were successfully getting many more times that amount into the country,” he writes. “As the numbers of migrants grow exponentially after May 23, and CBP manpower and resources are stretched even thinner, the cartels undoubtedly will exploit the situation to bring in more lethal narcotics, leading to even more deaths.”
We can debate all day long whether the administration is naive about the situation at the border or whether the border crisis is intentional — for what it’s worth, I think it’s a little of both — but what we can all agree on is that lifting Title 42 is a terrible, short-sighted idea that’s beneath even the stupidity that Biden and his circle have engaged in since taking office. Maybe someone more reasonable will prevail and keep Title 42 in place, but I think instead more chaos is on the way.