Moderate Democrats Join GOP Senators to Support Bill to Delay End of Title 42 Border Evictions

A group of Democratic senators plans to work with Republican lawmakers on Thursday to introduce a measure that would temporarily block the Biden administration. plan to end pandemic-related restrictions that will allow border authorities to quickly expel migrants, people familiar with the plan told CBS News.

The proposal, which is expected to be co-sponsored by six Republican senators and five moderate Democratic senators, would prevent the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from going ahead with an order published last week that would stop the authorization of the border rule, known as title 42end of May.

Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly from Arizona; Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; Jon Tester from Montana; and Joe Manchin of West Virginia is co-sponsoring the bill, along with Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma; John Thune of South Dakota; John Cornyn from Texas; Thom Tillis of North Carolina; Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia and Rob Portman from Ohio.

The measure is expected to be proposed as an amendment to the latest COVID-19 aid package that Congress is debating, according to a person familiar with the plan. Axios first announced the details of the bill on Wednesday evening.

Since it was introduced in 2020 as a temporary pandemic response measure by the Trump administration, Title 42 has allowed U.S. border officials to immediately expel migrants to Mexico or their native country, bypassing laws requiring the government to interview asylum seekers to make sure they won. take no damage if they are turned off.

For more than a year, the Biden administration said the evictions were necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 within border processing facilities. But after legal setbacks and political pressure from liberal Democrats, the CDC announced last week that it would stop allowing the deportation of migrants on May 23.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the evictions were no longer necessary because of improving pandemic conditions, including the decline in coronavirus cases since the Omicron wave this winter and increased vaccination rates in the US and migrants’ home countries.

But the measure, which will be introduced on Thursday, requires the government to first end the national public health emergency declaration due to COVID-19 and then notify Congress of a planned termination of Title 42. After such notification is made, the CDC would have to wait at least 60 days for Title 42 to be revoked.

During that 60-day period, the CDC would need to consult with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees border agents, to present a plan to Congress on how the administration would address a potential spike in migrant arrivals once Title 42 will be lifted, according to the text of the bill.

If that plan is not filed within 30 days of the original notification, any attempt to terminate Title 42 must be deferred by 30 days after the plan is sent to Congress.

US-MEXICO-BORDER MIRATION
Customs and border police officers arrest a group of Brazilian migrants who illegally crossed the border in Otay Mesa, California, on Aug. 13, 2021.

SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images


Democratic support for Thursday’s bill illustrates the internal party dispute between Democrats sparked by the CDC’s decision to call off Title 42 evictions, which is already being used by Republican campaigns to attack President Biden and vulnerable Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections.

Two of the bill’s co-sponsors, Kelly and Hassan, are up for re-election in the swing states. Other Democrats facing reelection battles have criticized the planned dissolution of Title 42, including Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Georgia Raphael Warnock, though they will not co-sponsor Thursday’s bill.

Like their Republican counterparts, Democratic critics of the Title 42 announcement have said DHS isn’t ready to respond to the expected surge in border arrivals that officials are preparing for once the evictions stop.

DHS Officers have said they mobilize additional personnel, including border police officers; securing more buses and planes to transport migrant families; and building new migrant processing facilities along the southern border in anticipation of the expected increase in migration.

A White House official said Congress should not delay the approval of the coronavirus relief package by trying to add “unrelated issues”, noting that the funding is “needed now to protect the American people.”

“If we don’t have treatments, if we don’t have the drugs people need, Americans will die from COVID, whether they support or oppose immigration administration, childcare or environmental regulations,” the White House official told CBS News.

in a interview With “CBS News Evening News” anchor and editor-in-chief Norah O’Donnell on Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the US could see “very well” a spike in border arrivals, but noted that his department is preparing for several unforeseen circumstances, including increasing resources and expanding transport options.

“What sets us apart from the past is the fact that we will not pursue cruel policies that ignore our asylum laws,” Mayorkas said. “We are rebuilding a system that has been completely decommissioned.”

While some moderates have been skeptical about the end of Title 42, many Democratic lawmakers, including Senate leader Chuck Schumer, have been pushing for the policy to end for months, saying the evictions were part of an effort by the Trump administration to try to force the U.S. dismantling the asylum system.

On Wednesday, Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Posted a “reminder” on Twitter regarding US border policy.

“Responsibly managing our border and fulfilling our moral and legal obligations to treat immigrants and refugees with dignity are not mutually exclusive,” he wrote. “We can and MUST do both.”

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