White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed to suggest on April 20 that the president isn't making any plans to delay the lifting of Title 42—the public health policy that limits immigration and is set to end next month.
The CDC announced plans on April 1 to end Title 42 effective 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 said on April 20, noting that President Joe Biden “agrees” that the country’s immigration system is “broken,” but said 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 shows that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has 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 on April 20 that the current funding level for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE won't be sufficient to meet operational needs once Title 42 is lifted. She noted that 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 before 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 CBP data released on April 18.
The National Border Patrol Council, the official union of the U.S. Border Patrol, wrote on Twitter on April 19, “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 [Title 42]. T42 supposed to be rescinded next month. #BidenBorderCrisis.”