(RepublicanWire) – Three Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration to prevent the repeal of Title 42.
Title 42 was an order implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020, with bipartisan support, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been used to rapidly expel both lawful and unlawful migrants at the southern border due to health concerns without any immigration process.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said unlawful migrants expelled under Title 42 face “no legal consequence.”
Brown said without Title 42, “There would be a consequence that would make it harder for them to come back legally under immigration law. So, by using Title 42, there was no consequence, and therefore what we saw was many immigrants, particularly Mexicans, who had been expelled back to Mexico, simply trying again,” ultimately fueling a significant increase in repeat border crossings.
The attorneys general of Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri filed the lawsuit to block the Biden administration’s plan to end the order on May 23. They argue that repealing the ordinance would be unlawful and detrimental to the states. The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in Louisiana.
“This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe,” the complaint reads.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona claimed that if Title 42 is repealed, half a million unlawful migrants will cross the southern border in one month.
“Literally, if the Biden administration rescinds this policy, it will result in more than half a million people it’s estimated to illegally cross our border in just one month. That’s like the entire population of Baltimore, Atlanta, Georgia,” Brnovich told Fox News on Monday morning.
“We want to stop the Biden administration from rescinding Title 42. Because it may be one of the most boneheaded decisions of this administration, and they have done a lot of dumb things,” he added.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced last week that it would be rescinding the ordinance effective May 23. In February, 55% of the approximately 164,000 lawful and unlawful migrants encountered at the southern border were expelled under Title 42. Overall, Title 42 has been used to remove lawful and unlawful migrants more than 1.7 million times since its implementation, according to the Migrant Policy Institute.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the CDC announced in a statement.
Supporters of repealing Title 42, like the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), argue that the order denies immigrants seeking asylum due process.
“For nearly two years, the Biden and Trump administrations have used the unlawful Title 42 expulsion policy to categorically deny tens of thousands of people their right to seek asylum and return them to dangerous conditions where they face kidnapping, torture, and persecution,” said the NILC in a March press release.
However, Republicans and some Democratic lawmakers disagree with repealing the ordinance, stating that it would result in an increase of people arriving at the southern border. The Biden Administration and the Department of Homeland Security have even conceded that repealing Title 42 will lead to an “influx” of lawful and unlawful migrants crossing the southern border.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday claimed that DHS has “put in place a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”
“We are increasing our capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “We will increase personnel and resources as needed and have already redeployed more than 600 law enforcement officers to the border. We are referring smugglers and certain border crossers for criminal prosecution. Over the next two months, we are putting in place additional, appropriate COVID-19 protocols, including ramping up our vaccination program.”
U.S. Representatives Henry Cuellar and Vincente Gonzalez, both Texas Democrats, joined a dozen Republican lawmakers from their state in writing a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging against repealing the order.
“We understand that this legal authority is temporary and tied to the COVID-19 public health emergency, but DHS appears unprepared to handle a likely unprecedented increase in apprehensions along the southwest border,” the Texans wrote in the letter.
U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, both Democrats from Arizona, also wrote a letter expressing similar concerns and said they spoke with the DHS about not repealing Title 42 until there are other safeguards at the border.
“We spoke with the @DHSgov Secretary about the administration’s Title 42 contingency plans following our letter to the President urging him not to end Title 42 without a comprehensive plan to support border communities,” Sinema tweeted on March 30.
“While it’s difficult to identify President Biden’s most irresponsible move since taking office, rescinding Title 42 is certainly up there,” Brnovich said. “It’s a ridiculously poor decision with a bad intention for border states and American communities across the country. This administration’s reckless pandering to the far Left and complete abdication of its responsibility to public safety cannot be allowed to continue.”