Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) and several of his Republican colleagues are warning against the Biden administration’s possible termination of Title 42, the public health policy that allows U.S. border officials to quickly expel some migrants when they illegally cross the southern border.
Donalds discussed with Breitbart News in an exclusive interview last week outside of the Capitol his concerns with eliminating Tile 42, a measure put in place by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic last year that the Biden administration scaled back and now may end altogether in the coming weeks.
“If they eliminate Title 42 and they maintain their current enforcement protocols, the southern border — whatever we thought was overrun — we haven’t seen anything yet,” Donalds said.
Recalling his own conversations with border officials from when he visited the southern border, Donalds added, “Border Patrol agents, people who work the sections down there, they will tell you that the only reason there is some semblance of order is because they’ve been able to turn away adults. If you get rid of Title 42, which all it is is turning away adults at the border for health and safety reasons — due to COVID-19 — if they get rid of that, we’ll be way overrun. There will be no possible way we’ll be able to actually contain the illegal immigration that is flowing over the country. … It will be a disaster for the country.”
Border officials have expelled more than half a million illegal migrants using Title 42 since October 1. As Breitbart News’s John Binder reported, about 91 percent of illegal migrants were being returned through Title 42 in October while former President Donald Trump was still in office.
Under President Joe Biden, the protocol today is only being followed for about 64 percent of illegal migrants.
The weakened use of the public health policy is due to Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) making exceptions for unaccompanied minors and some families illegally crossing the border as well as carving out a number of “humanitarian exceptions,” which reportedly include illegal migrants who are pregnant, gay, transgender, have medical issues, and more.
Pro-immigration advocates and leftist politicians have been pressuring the Biden administration to terminate Title 42 entirely, contending the policy — enacted as a means to prevent further spread of coronavirus — is losing purpose as virus cases in the U.S. drop. Republicans, however, see the Title 42 expulsion of illegal migrants, whose health status is unknown when they cross into the U.S., as a vital tool to curbing the massive wave of illegal migration that has threatened America’s public health, safety, and economy.
Numbers of illegal migrant encounters have skyrocketed since last year. The ongoing surge coincides with Biden’s reduced use of Title 42, decreased deportations, and the elimination of the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy. In May, for instance, border officials encountered more than 180,000 migrants crossing the border illegally, a 675 percent increase over last May, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The agency also reported encountering more than 101,000 illegal migrants in February, more than 173,000 in March, and more than 178,000 in April, monthly totals representing a 175 percent increase, a 403 percent increase, and a 944 percent increase over last year’s monthly totals, respectively.
Donalds’ interview with Breitbart News came just two days before the Florida Republican sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, signed by several of Donalds’ colleagues including border state Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Michael Cloud (R-TX), and Ronny Jackson (R-TX), urging Becerra to “carry on with Title 42 instead of further fueling” the border crisis.
Similarly, in May, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), and John Katko (R-NY) wrote a letter to DHS demanding clarity on the “humanitarian exceptions” the administration was making to Title 42, warning the exceptions alone could “incentivize additional illegal entries.”
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