A member of Congress from President Biden’s own party is demanding that he and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas join Republicans at the negotiating table to find a bipartisan solution on immigration as the government’s Title 42 expulsion policy comes to an end.
Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., warned that the expected onslaught of people trying to cross the border illegally after Title 42 ends could exacerbate the ‘humanitarian and refugee crisis’ if nothing is done to mitigate it.
‘As the President has decided to lift the [Title 42] order this week, we now face a doubling of illegal crossings at our southern border by some estimates, exacerbating the current humanitarian and refugee crisis,’ Davids wrote in a letter addressed to Mayorkas.
‘While you have presented a list of ways you plan to address the surge of migration, some of which I agree with, we still have not reached a comprehensive, long-term plan with bipartisan support.’
Her letter said any plan to help solve the issues at the southern border would have to have the support of both the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-held House. Davids pointed out it will be a top issue in her chamber soon, as the GOP weighs its comprehensive immigration and border bill.
‘U.S. House Republicans plan to initiate debate about immigration reform in the coming weeks. I urge you and the White House to join me in engaging in these conversations about what the landscape for immigration reform in our country should look like,’ she wrote.
She called for a plan that would both secure the border and provide a pathway for citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
‘Ultimately, we need a comprehensive and bipartisan solution that is smart, humane, and true to our country’s values. That must include securing and protecting our borders along with a roadmap to citizenship, especially for people who have served in our military and Dreamers,’ Davids wrote.
‘As Congress considers immigration reform in the coming weeks, we must make clear to the American people that we are taking this challenge seriously and are ready to find solutions. You have had a year to engage prior to the lifting of Title 42, and I hope that you and the President both recommit to working with Congress to achieve real results.’
Davids previously sounded the alarm on the border crisis in April of last year, when the Biden administration had earlier moved to lift Title 42. The policy gives border agents vast authority to turn migrants away on contact in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Opponents of the policy point argue that it’s a health measure imposed by the CDC, rather than an immigration rule, and is no longer needed – particularly as the national pandemic emergency ends this month.
But supporters of keeping it in place warn that an already drastic border crisis could get worse once border officials are stripped of its authority.
The expected end of the policy this week has forced federal officials to scramble to deal with the increase to what Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) says is already an average of 2,000 border crossings a day for the last two weeks, in the McAllen, Texas, area alone.
Some estimates say that figure could hit 10,000 per day after Title 42 is lifted.
In order to help with the expected onslaught of asylum-seekers and other migrants, the president ordered 1,500 U.S. troops to the border to support agents on patrol. Mayorkas was also at the border last week, when he toured with CBP agents and saw facilities where migrants awaited processing. Republicans have been sharply critical of his performance as head of DHS, and have even called for his removal.
The Senate is working on a bipartisan solution to temporarily allow for the expulsion of migrants after Title 42 ends, granting similar authorities to the health policy.