What is title 42?
Title 42 is a piece of public health law that allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop people and property from entering the United States “in the interest of public health,” particularly when there “is the existence of any communicable disease in a foreign country” and “there is serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States.” Although it’s regularly discussed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been on the books for decades.
Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection to turn migrants away without allowing them to file for asylum. It is slated to end on May 23. This past Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill that would block the lifting of the Title 42, throwing the Biden administration’s plans into question.
According to the Deseret News:
Senators from both parties have expressed concern about ending the policy before the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Customs and Border Protection, is ready to deal with the expected surge of migrants that will follow.
Earlier this week, the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott — who is against the end of Title 42 — announced his plans to bus migrants directly from the southern border to Washington, D.C.
A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill Thursday meant to force the Biden administration to delay ditching the Title 42 health policy next month, warning that suspending the order will unleash a humanitarian crisis as thousands of illegal immigrants flock to the southern border, according to a report.
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“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 nonprofits to put a comprehensive, workable plan in place before lifting Title 42,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who drafted the bill with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), said in a statement. “I’ll continue pushing for transparency and accountability from the Administration to help secure the border, keep Arizona communities safe, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely.”
The fact that Democrats like Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly support this bill indicates which way the political winds are blowing.
Democratic co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, both of whom face tough re-election fights this November. Fellow Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana have also signed on.