The Biden Administration will allow Title 42, a critical Trump-era health immigration measure, to expire soon and Congress is panicking. Liberal congressional lawmakers are finally forced to acknowledge that the dam holding back a tidal wave of illegal immigration is about to break. 

Not only will a flood of migrants overwhelm our strained border security apparatus, but it will undermine the legal immigration system and increase the backlog of 1.7 million immigration cases, place our southern border at greater national security, and worsen crime–such as the trafficking of illegal drugs like fentanyl, guns, and humans.

The time for Congress to take control and codify effective immigration policies is long overdue. It’s the only way to stop the back-and-forth of executive orders that get enacted and then reversed by the next administration as well as the uncertainty and chaos that ensue.

What’s happening

Congressional lawmakers are pushing for a vote to keep Title 42 in place before it will be lifted on May 23. Title 42 is an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border and also prevents them from seeking asylum. Lawmakers are advancing two different legislative tracks.

First, Republican senators introduced an amendment that would keep in place Title 42 restrictions to a bill for additional coronavirus funds. Senate leadership from both parties struck a deal last week that would secure $10 billion in funding for therapeutics, vaccines, and testing. If the amendment could be included as part of the bill, it would only require a simple majority to pass. Given that centrists Democrats, particularly in border states, strongly oppose the ending of Title 42, they might have the votes. The bill would then head to the House, where its fate is less certain.

Alternatively, a bipartisan group of senators led by Arizona senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly introduced a bill last week to delay the end of Title 42 for at least 60 days after ending the COVID-19 national emergency declaration. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have 30 days to get its act together and submit to Congress a plan to address the impacts of the migrant influx.

Senator Kelly noted:

The Biden administration was wrong to set an end date for Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place… We need a secure, orderly, and humane response at our southern border and our bipartisan legislation holds the Biden administration accountable to that. 

Senator Sinema added:

Arizona communities bear the brunt of the federal government’s failure at our border, so we’re stepping in and protecting border communities by ensuring the Administration works hand-in-hand with local leaders, law enforcement, and non-profits to put a comprehensive, workable plan in place before lifting Title 42.

This standalone measure is important, but the question is whether it would pass the House.

Congress recognizes the importance of Title 42 even if the Biden administration doesn’t. Furthermore, Biden is attempting to have his cake and eat it too. He wants more COVID-relief funding to fight the pandemic (and to extend other pandemic-ers programs such as student loan forbearance), yet doesn’t believe that the pandemic poses enough of a public health emergency to retain Title 42.

What does this mean

For over a year, many groups including our own, have sounded the alarm about the influx of illegal migrants at the southern border. Title 42 was one of the few tools in the toolbelt of the administration to control it. Now, even that tool is set to be shelved and the impacts will be devastating.

DHS is bracing for as many as 18,000 migrants per day at the southern border. Their projections range from 6,000 to 18,000. According to Customs and Border Protection (CPB) data, 5,892 apprehensions occurred at the southern border each day in February, up significantly from years prior.

The source countries for these migrants are expanding beyond Mexico and Northern Triangle countries in Central America. Officials acknowledge an influx of Nicaraguan, Cuban, and Venezuelan nationals.

The only time in the past year that the southern border has been a concern to the left was when a massive surge of 10,000 immigrants–largely from Haiti–set up camp under a Del Rio bridge seeking entrance. At the same time, a photo controversy erupted after border patrol agents were falsely accused, even by President Biden, of whipping the illegal immigrants while on horseback.

Vice President Kamala Harris laughed off a visit to the southern border before finally touching down on the ground at a detention center for a photo op. Her visit to Centra America to get to the root causes resulted in nothing at all. 

Meanwhile, sex trafficking and human smuggling continue unabated as cartels exploit the chaos at the border to move drugs, guns, and people into the U.S. The ending of Title 42 is exactly the kind of policy change that cartels can promote in other countries as a reason for migrants to come to the U.S. now by paying them for passage. The harrowing trek is fraught with danger and calamity. Women and children are most vulnerable to human rights abuses.

Once here, illegal immigrants are unlikely to be turned away but instead bussed or flown throughout the rest of the country. The ending of Title 42 means that backdoor entrance is the new admittance policy to the U.S.

With the midterm elections just around the corner, the political implications are probably one of the motivators on the left.

Bottom line 

The pandemic is all but over officially. Title 42 is an effective public health policy that should serve as the basis of a permanent policy. We shouldn’t need a public health crisis to stem the flow of illegal immigration. It’s time that Congress does something about it.