White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed to suggest on Wednesday that the president is not making any plans to delay the lifting of Title 42—the public health policy that limits immigration and is set to end next month.
Title 42 is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order that was invoked in March 2020 under former President Donald Trump to minimize the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus by ensuring that only essential travel occurred at U.S. borders. It has been used for the past two years to quickly expel illegal immigrants at the southern U.S. border.
The CDC announced on April 1 plans to end Title 42 starting May 23. Border Patrol agents and local officials along the border have since been bracing for an even greater influx of illegal immigrants.
“So right now, we are planning and preparing for the end of Title 42 enforcement on May 23,” Psaki reaffirmed on Wednesday, adding that President Joe Biden “agrees” the country’s immigration system is “broken,” but any change would require action from Congress.
“There are a range of ideas out there in Congress—Democrats, Republicans, and others—some who support a delay of Title 42 implementation, some who strongly oppose it. And there are a range of other ideas of reforming our immigration system,” Psaki said. “This would all require congressional action.”
Meanwhile, the list of Democrats breaking with Biden on Title 42 is growing.
“The administration’s decision to roll back Title 42 is wrong and reckless,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said in a statement to Fox News. “Prematurely ending this policy without a path forward does nothing to keep Americans safe, support our Border Patrol agents, protect asylum-seekers, or bring about the comprehensive fix our immigration system needs.”
A recent court filing revealed ICE plans to release up to 600,000 illegal immigrants to deal with the projected surge in migration with the end of Title 42.
Psaki also said Wednesday that the current funding level for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not be sufficient to meet operational needs once Title 42 is lifted. She added the administration is planning for this eventuality.
“There are a range of steps that we’ve been taking to prepare for that, including surging resources, deploying resources to address increased volumes,” she said. “That includes moving officers, agents, DHS volunteer force personnel to rapidly decompress points along the border and more efficiently process migrants.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee next week about border and immigration issues.
The number of illegal aliens attempting to cross the southern border has surged in recent weeks. Immigration authorities stopped migrants 221,303 times in March, a 34 percent increase from a month earlier, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data released on Monday.
The National Border Patrol Council, the official union of the United States Border Patrol (USBP), tweeted out on Tuesday, “Appears the Biden Admin is effectively ending Title 42 prematurely. We are now processing illegal aliens from Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala) under Expedited Removal rather than T42. T42 supposed to be rescinded next month. #BidenBorderCrisis.”