Four Democratic senators have told Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas they have “deep concerns” about the Biden administration’s plans for ending the Title 42 health policy, which is expected to bring a surge of migrants to the United States.
The Trump administration enacted Title 42 during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 to allow for the quick removal of migrants at the border — but a federal judge ruled Nov. 15 the rule was “arbitrary and capricious” and no longer in line with public health conditions in the country.
The policy will expire on Dec. 21.
“We have expressed concern with DHS’ preparations for the end of Title 42, especially as the situation has deteriorated at times. Record annual encounters have led to untenable situations,” Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Jon Tester of Montana wrote in the letter made public on Monday.
“In Arizona, shelters have been forced well beyond capacity. This month, El Paso has seen over 700 migrants released directly onto city streets due to overcrowding. This is not safe, and creates a dangerous situation for migrants and communities,” the letter continued.
Title 42 has been used to remove more than 2.3 million migrants since March 2020 and White House officials believe the end of the policy could lead to as many as 18,000 migrants crossing the southern border each day.
Samuel Guerra, a migrant from Venezuela, told The Post earlier this month that he will be among an “avalanche” of immigrants entering the US once Title 42 expires.
Guerra is one of thousands of migrants living in a tent city a stone’s throw away from El Paso, Texas.
The president of the national Border Patrol union said the end of Title 42 will remove a significant enforcement tool that agents have used to expel about 40% of the migrants they encounter at the border.
“Once Title 42 goes away, it just means we’re going to be releasing even more people into the United States — which, of course, just encourages more people to come,” Brandon Judd told The Post earlier this month.
Mayorkas, appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee earlier this month, insisted the administration has a plan to deal with the consequences of Title 42.
“We are enhancing the consequences for unlawful entry, especially with respect to individuals who seek to evade law enforcement, including removal, detention and criminal prosecution when warranted,” he said at the Nov. 17 hearing.
Republicans, who won control of the House in the midterm elections, plan to launch a series of investigations into the administration’s lax border policies, and Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, expected to be elected House speaker, has already said Mayorkas should step down or face potential impeachment.
“We will use the power of the purse and the power of subpoena. Let me be clear: Those responsible for this disaster will be held accountable,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters last week in El Paso.
“If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action and every failure to determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiries.”