Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Friday slammed President Biden’s decision to rescind Title 42, a Trump-era health order used to rapidly deport people who cross the border without authorization, as “a frightening decision” that would likely increase the volume of migrants at the southern border.
“Today’s announcement by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the Biden Administration is a frightening decision,” Manchin said in a statement after Biden’s announcement.
“Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border. We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy,” Manchin warned.
His office noted that U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced a record 1.7 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021, a number four times higher than what was reported in 2020.
Border officials expect to break that record in 2022 — Border Patrol officers had 838,000 migrant encounters at the southern border during the first three months of the year.
“We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place,” he said.
Fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) joined Manchin in pushing back against the administration, warning it would “risk the health and safety” of her constituents.
“Prematurely ending Title 42 without a comprehensive, workable plan would put at risk the health and safety of Arizona communities and migrants. Today’s decision to announce an end to Title 42 despite not yet having a comprehensive plan ready shows a lack of understanding about the crisis at our border,” she said in a statement.
She was supported by Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), a top GOP target in November’s midterm elections.
“This is the wrong decision. It’s unacceptable to end Title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border,” Kelly said in a joint statement with Sinema.
“From my numerous visits to the southern border and conversations with Arizona’s law enforcement, community leaders, mayors, and non-profits, it’s clear that this administration’s lack of a plan to deal with this crisis will further strain our border communities,” he added.
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who is facing a competitive reelection race this fall, also criticized the administration’s decision.