Several moderate Democrats are speaking out against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to end a COVID-19 pandemic policy that allows for the rapid deportation of illegal immigrants.
First implemented in March 2020, Title 42 will end May 23, the CDC announced Friday. Proponents of the policy argue that ending it will lead to a migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 1.7 million illegal immigrants have been expelled under Title 42, even as the Biden administration created a carve-out for unaccompanied minors in August 2021. (RELATED: Border Agents Encountered More Than 2 Million Migrants In 2021)
Notably, Democrats representing border communities, as well as those facing serious electoral challenges, are joining with Republicans to criticize the ending of Title 42.
“Ending Title 42 prematurely will likely lead to a migrant surge that the administration does not appear to be ready for,” Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan tweeted Friday. Hassan is expected to face a tough re-election campaign, although her chances at retaining her seat were aided by Republican Chris Sununu’s decision to seek a fourth term as governor rather than run for Senate.
Ending Title 42 prematurely will likely lead to a migrant surge that the administration does not appear to be ready for. I’ll keep pushing the administration to strengthen border security & look forward to hearing directly from border agents during my upcoming trip to the border.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) April 1, 2022
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who does not face re-election until 2024, described the announcement as “frightening.”
“Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border. We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx,” he said in a statement.
Several other Democrats had urged President Joe Biden to maintain Title 42 before the CDC announced that the policy would expire. Democratic Arizona Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter to the White House on March 24 calling on Biden “to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border” before lifting Title 42.
Texas Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, both of whom represent border districts, joined with 20 Republicans in calling for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to maintain Title 42.
“If the CDC were to rescind its Title 42 order at this time, Border Patrol facilities and local communities would be forced to absorb at least double the current number of migrants, likely with catastrophic results,” they wrote.