Five Facts on Title 42

The Big InsightA premature end to the Title 42 border policy stopping COVID-positive persons who enter the U.S. illegally from remaining would likely lead to a migrant surge that border authorities will be unable to handle.

Eleven senators — six Republicans and five Democrats — have introduced legislation to stop the Biden administration from lifting the so-called Title 42 border policy without a detailed plan in place to deal with an anticipated migrant surge. Companion legislation in the House also has bipartisan support. Here are five facts on Title 42.

  1. Title 42 was created as part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944.

While Title 42 is regularly presented in the media as a “Trump-era policy,” it was created nearly 80 years ago and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It grants the Executive Branch “the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property” from any foreign country where “any communicable disease” may threaten domestic public health. It was invoked in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden administration defended Title 42 expulsions as a means of slowing the spread of COVID as recently as January, with Justice Department attorney Sharon Swingle saying the policy is rooted in “scientific expertise.”

2. The number of migrants attempting to enter the U.S. illegally reached its highest level ever during the last fiscal year.

Even with Title 42 in place, there were more than 1.7 million encounters between migrants and authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border in FY 2021 — nearly four times the 460,000 in FY 2020. And FY 2022 is on pace to set a new record, likely surpassing 2,000,000 encounters. Officials say a premature end to Title 42 expulsions could increase surges by 18,000 people per day.

The Washington Post says the rising number of migrants is “stretching capacity and stirring fears that the Biden administration will face an even larger influx if it lifts pandemic restrictions.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection “has been holding more than 15,000 migrants per day at border stations and tent facilities, exceeding capacity limits. Last month, CBP averaged fewer than 7,500 in custody per day.”

3. COVID case numbers are rising in 25 states.

While overall COVID case counts are down across the U.S., numbers are up in half the states over the past two weeks. These new cases are heavily concentrated in the Northeast, but opponents of ending Title 42 now argue that border controls are preventing similar increases in the Southwest.

4. The debate over Title 42 comes amid a dispute over $10 billion in new COVID funding.

Supporters of retaining the Title 42 policy say that if COVID remains serious enough to warrant new spending, it is serious enough for the policy to remain in place. According to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), one of the sponsors of the bipartisan Senate bill, “You can’t have a $10 billion COVID bill and say, ‘We’ve got to deal with COVID, but we don’t have to deal with it on the border.’”

5. An April 6 Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 56% of voters oppose ending Title 42 now.

According to Vox, “that represents the biggest backlash to any Biden administration policy among dozens tracked by Morning Consult” since President Biden took office.

No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bring American leaders together to solve problems.

Supporters of retaining the Title 42 policy say that if COVID remains serious enough to warrant new spending, it is serious enough for the policy to remain in place. According to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), one of the sponsors of the bipartisan Senate bill, “You can’t have a $10 billion COVID bill and say, ‘We’ve got to deal with COVID, but we don’t have to deal with it on the border.’”

5.         An April 6 Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 56% of voters oppose ending Title 42 now.

According to Vox, “that represents the biggest backlash to any Biden administration policy among dozens tracked by Morning Consult” since President Biden took office.

No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bring American leaders together to solve problems.

 

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