Amid a revolt from some Democrats, President Joe Biden appears to be standing firm on the decision to end Title 42 — a public health policy that allows officials to deny entry to migrants at the southern border.
The public health policy was introduced by former President Donald Trump at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows border officials to expel migrants who attempted to enter the U.S. from countries where a communicable disease exists.
Politico noted the White House plans to end the policy on May 23 despite the fact that it puts Biden in a political bind. The news outlet said Biden intends to keep his long-standing promise to revoke Title 42, even though a growing number of Democrat lawmakers want the restrictions to stay in place.
Those Democrats worry the administration is unprepared for a surge of migrants to the border that could be sparked by ending the policy.
But the White House isn't budging.
"It's not like we've been hiding the ball on this," a White House official told Politico. "This is not a policy to applaud or defend or anything. It simply is a public health directive on whether there is a public health risk associated with processing migrants or not."
The official added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "made a determination that there wasn't and that we're OK to move forward with lifting it on May 23."
The White House is "definitely not going to reverse their decision on Title 42," said Kerri Talbot, deputy director of the advocacy group Immigration Hub. "We would really urge them, instead, to more clearly roll out their border plan. There's really a communications issue here where they have detailed plans, but they just haven't really concretely laid them out for Congress."
But Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told Fox News the decision to end the policy is hurting Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
"In the past, I was the lonely voice on this," he said. "But now we've got Democratic senators, Democratic members of Congress from other parts of the country that are not only looking at the P for policy, but they're also looking at the P for politics," Cuellar said.
"This is not good for Democrats in November. You know, in talking to some of my Republican colleagues, they're saying, 'We can't believe the White House is giving us this narrative. We can't believe that they're hurting Democrat candidates for the November election.'"
Fox News reported that Cuellar has joined the likes of Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; and Democrat Senate candidates in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin who are distancing themselves from the decision to end Title 42.
Meanwhile, the policy could end up being decided by the courts.
Three GOP-led states filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on April 3 in a bid to prevent it from ending Title 42.
The suit was filed in federal court in Louisiana by the GOP attorneys general of Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri.
"The little secret here is they [administration officials] don't think they're actually going to have to end Title 42," an immigration advocate familiar with the White House's thinking told Politico. "They're expecting to lose a lawsuit that's going to force them to keep it in place."
Jeffrey Rodack ✉
Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.
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