OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Sen. Joe Manchin is pushing back on the Biden administration’s plans to end Title 42, a public health measure implemented by the Trump administration to allow for quick deportation of illegal aliens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The West Virginia Democrat is warning — as have others in his party — that ending the rule will lead to a massive influx of migrants who are already either camped out in Mexico near the border or who are heading towards the U.S. in convoys.
“I think they should reconsider,” Manchin told members of the press, per Fox News. “I sent a letter, I’m against removing Title 42.”
“If anything we should be looking at permanency on Title 42,” he added. “Maybe that would spur us to get a good immigration policy that works for Americans and secure our borders — the borders have to be secure,” he noted.
“Oh my goodness. Just watch the news y’all put out every day, what’s coming across,” Manchin said, per The Hill.
Manchin has previously expressed his opposition to the administration’s plan to lift Title 42, the outlet continued, in a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky earlier this week.
“In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, encounters with migrants reached an all-time high of 1.7 million people. That is four times higher than the 400,000 encounters reported the previous year, and we are on pace to set a new record again this year,” he wrote.
“Through the first five months of FY22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has experienced more than 838,000 migrant encounters. Unfortunately, due to annual migration patterns, those numbers are only expected to increase during the upcoming spring and summer months,” he added.
“The current Order under Title 42 suspending the right to introduce certain persons into the United States has been an important tool in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter noted further.
“With encounters along our southern border surging and the highly-transmissible Omicron BA.2 subvariant emerging as the dominant strain in the United States, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind. I urge you to again renew this commonsense policy that has been in effect—under both Republican and Democratic Administrations—since March 2020,” Manchin wrote.
Separately, Arizona’s two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, also appealed to President Joe Biden last week, imploring him not to end Title 42 while warning of a “mass migration event.”
We write to you to express great concern about the lack of a specific plan from your Administration with respect to potential changes to the Title 42 Public Health authority, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has relied on at the border during the coronavirus pandemic.
Given the impacts that changes to Title 42 could have on border communities, border security, and migrants, we urge your Administration not to make any changes to Title 42 implementation until you are completely ready to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border. We also request that you provide a full briefing to Congress on your plan before implementation and execution…
Last month alone, CBP expelled 91,513 migrants under Title 42, and processed 73,460 individuals under Title 8.1 The January figures are comparable, showing only a slight trend upward on the number of expulsions. Of those encounters, nearly thirty percent occurred in Arizona.2 A sharp end to Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in motion would significantly increase the strain on DHS, border communities, and local nonprofits that are already near or at capacity.
Republicans have also voiced strong opposition to ending the rule, including Rep. Chip Roy of Texas. He blasted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a letter earlier this week accusing him of lax border and immigration enforcement to the point of it being “impeachable conduct.”
“Your job as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security — carried out under your oath to defend the Constitution — is to secure the United States of America. Yet, you have purposefully failed to do so, and in the process you have empowered criminal drug cartels, impaired the health of Americans, damaged America’s economic health, allowed illegal migrants to destroy private property, and placed American citizens at imminent risk of physical harm,” Roy wrote.
“These actions represent acts of impeachable conduct as Secretary — which we have documented in part — and represent a call to action for Congress to hold you to account.”