Democratic leaders are harshly criticizing President Joe Biden for keeping one of his predecessor’s immigration policies in place.
While the administration has reversed many of the border security policies implemented under former President Donald Trump, it is maintaining Title 42, which was enacted in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under this health protection policy, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order allows for migrants to be quickly expelled at the border if they are coming from a country where a communicable disease is present.
Last week, the administration announced it was ending the use of Title 42 to turn away children who are unaccompanied at the border. But Title 42 is still being used to stop other migrants from entering the country.
In January, 51 percent of migrant encounters resulted in a Title 42 expulsion, Fox News reported.
Many Democrats are upset that the Biden administration hasn’t ended the Trump-era immigration policy altogether.
“Title 42 has been nothing short of disastrous for immigrant families seeking asylum from the horrors in their own countries. It is unacceptable that this policy continues to be used indiscriminately to remove migrants with valid refuge claims from our Southern border,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday during a call with reporters, according to Border Report.
On Saturday, the New York Democrat was joined by Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Alex Padilla of California in issuing a joint statement Saturday calling out the administration’s policy.
“We are deeply disappointed in the Biden Administration’s decision to maintain Title 42,” the senators said. “While we recognize that the Administration made the right choice to prevent unaccompanied children from being expelled, it is wrong that they made the decision to continue sending families with minor children back to persecution and torture. With vaccines and testing widely available, there is no public health benefit to sending asylum seekers back to harm.
“As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxes [its] domestic COVID-19 protocols, it is perplexing that the agency continues to recommend the extended use of this draconian policy at the border, contradicting the overwhelming signs of America’s pandemic recovery under President Biden’s leadership. As we have clearly reminded President Biden, we have a moral imperative to live by our values.
“It is time for the Biden Administration to reinstate humanitarian protections at our borders, to build a functional asylum system that is equipped to manage our global migration challenge, and to stop breathing new life into this inhumane Trump policy.”
Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz of California, who is head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, joined in the criticism.
He said “enough is enough” concerning Title 42, Politico reported.
“It is long overdue to completely end the Trump-initiated Title 42 policy and stop using the pandemic as an excuse to keep it going,” Ruiz said.
Elements of Title 42 also have come under fire from federal judges.
On March 4, a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals barred the government from sending immigrants back to countries where they could face torture or persecution, Roll Call reported.
The panel also questioned the need for the Title 42 order to remain in place, commenting that it is “March 2022, not March 2020.”
The judges said it “looks in certain respects like a relic from an era with no vaccines, scarce testing, few therapeutics, and little certainty.”
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