The Problem Solvers Caucus, an independent member-driven group in Congress composed of 58 Republican and Democrat representatives from across the nation, has announced support for legislation aimed at extending the Title 42 protections officially due to end on May 23.
“Today, the Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed the bipartisan Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022 to prevent the President from rescinding Title 42 immigration restrictions until all COVID-19 related national states of emergency are officially terminated,” an April 22 press release states. The Biden administration can consider lifting Title 42 restrictions after 60 days have passed from ending the COVID-19 emergency declaration.
Once an announcement to terminate the health declaration is made, the Department of Health and Human Services together with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other impacted stakeholders have 30 days to provide Congress with a comprehensive plan to deal with the expected migrant surge at the southern border.
“If a plan is not submitted to Congress within the 30-day window, the lifting of Title 42 would be delayed until 30 days after a report is submitted.”
The Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022 or HR 7458 was introduced by Caucus members Representatives Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.), garnering support from over 75 percent of the Caucus.
Introduced by the Trump administration and enforced at American borders from March 2020, Title 42 removals are applicable to individuals who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present.
It gives power to immigration officials to “rapidly expel certain categories of undocumented migrants” to countries like Mexico so as to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
In early April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it will bring an end to Title 42 on May 23. DHS estimates migrant arrivals surging to 12,000–18,000 individuals on a daily basis at the southwest border, a far higher number compared to the 7,000 attempting to enter the country daily at present.
Many lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties have criticized Washington’s decision to lift Title 42. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) has warned that the Biden administration does not have a proper plan with regard to ending the Title 42 public health order.
“I warned the administration about this months and months ago, and they still don’t have an adequate plan. They say they are working on it. My guess is that we’ll get to May 23, there probably is not going to be an adequate plan in place and, if that’s the case, I don’t think we should lift Title 42,” Kelly said to Fox News.
Meanwhile, Texas filed legal action against the Biden administration on April 22, asking a federal court to prevent the end of Title 42 emergency border powers.
Washington’s decision to rescind Title 42 while allowing other pandemic-era orders, like mandating everyone coming through entry points in the northern and southern borders to have a COVID-19 vaccine, reveals “unexplainable and irrational inconsistencies,” Paxton wrote in the emergency motion.
“There is simply no basis for holding authorized immigrants and visitors to a higher standard than aliens who enter the United States illegally,” he said.