More Democrats sound the alarm as White House plans to scrap Title 42

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Several Democrats are voicing opposition to the Biden administration’s plan to rescind Title 42 next month, warning of dire consequences should the health policy be removed with no plan in place to control the massive influx of migrants arriving at America’s southern border.

Announced earlier this month, the Biden administration said it would end Title 42 on May 23. The policy, used since March 2020 under both Presidents Trump and Biden, provided the ability for American officials to bar migrants from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Biden

President Biden
(Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images  |  Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images )

While the move to end Title 42 has certainly sparked backlash from Republicans who support hard-line immigration policies, a great deal of Democrats, several who are up for re-election or seeking other positions, are also expressing concern over its planned removal as conditions at the southern border continue to deteriorate.

Citing an individual with knowledge of internal discussions, Axios reported Tuesday evening that the White House is mulling whether to continue with the repeal of Title 42 next month amid blowback from members of Biden’s own party.

Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who announced last year his bid to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman, told Fox News Digital that the removal of Title 42 is “wrong and reckless” as he warned of repercussions and the safety of Americans.

“The administration’s decision to roll back Title 42 is wrong and reckless,” Ryan said. “Prematurely ending this policy without a path forward does nothing to keep Americans safe, support our Border Patrol agents, protect asylum-seekers, or bring about the comprehensive fix our immigration system needs.”

BIPARTISAN BILL TO EXTEND TITLE 42 LATEST SIGN OF MODERATE DEM OPPOSITION TO BIDEN BORDER MOVE

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., who is running for re-election to represent Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, is also voicing concern, saying in a statement provided to Fox News Digital that there must be a plan in place “to handle a surge” before she can support the removal of the policy.

“Until the administration can demonstrate that there is a plan in place to handle a surge in migration at the border in a humane, safe and orderly way, I can’t support the decision to end Title 42 at this time,” Lee said. “By lifting Title 42 without the necessary staffing and resources, the administration will only exacerbate the tensions that, for decades, have stalled progress on reforming our broken immigration system.”

Migrants are taken into custody by Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border on Dec. 7, 2021, in Yuma, Arizona.

Migrants are taken into custody by Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border on Dec. 7, 2021, in Yuma, Arizona.
(John Moore/Getty Images)

Instead, Lee argued that the administration should “focus on taking concrete steps to comprehensively reform our immigration system” and invest in “robust border security, reinforcing our legal capabilities to process and enforce asylum requests, and ensuring that we treat immigrant families with dignity.”

Similarly, Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., expressed reservations about lifting the policy and told Fox News Digital she would like to see a “comprehensive plan” with support from both sides of the aisle before the policy is lifted.

“I am concerned that the administration is moving too quickly on this,” Davids said. “I’d like to see a more comprehensive plan, ideally with bipartisan support, before we lift the restriction.”

Echoing her colleagues, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said the Biden administration “does not have a plan” to deal with migrants at the border once the policy is removed.

“The administration currently does not have a plan, and Title 42 should remain in place until the administration has a comprehensive proposal to address the expected influx of migrants at the southern border,” Luria said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

Additionally, Luria, who is running for re-election to represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, called for law enforcement officers working the border to be provided with the proper “tools and resources they need to secure our border before any significant change in policy is made.”

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo., said the senator, who is running for re-election this year, “has expressed concerns to the Biden administration about ending Title 42 ahead of the expected surge at the southern border, which is already experiencing a humanitarian crisis.”

Sen. Michael Bennet speaks to voters at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dec. 8, 2019.

Sen. Michael Bennet speaks to voters at a house party in Manchester, New Hampshire, Dec. 8, 2019.
(Reuters/Elizabeth Frantz)

“Bennet believes the administration has failed to articulate a plausible plan to ensure the country is prepared for the surge,” the spokesperson added.

California Democrat Rep. Mike Levin vowed to hold Biden “accountable” and called for a “comprehensive plan” to ensure that immigration law is accurately enforced as the administration works to handle the hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrive at the southern border each month.

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“The Biden administration must implement a clear and comprehensive plan to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced, that we have order at the border, and that we do not allow for an influx of human or drug trafficking once the Title 42 Order ends,” Levin told Fox News Digital. “Just as I did with the previous administration, I will continue to hold the White House accountable for upholding those priorities.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., who announced late last year that she will not seek re-election to represent the Sunshine State’s 7th Congressional District, also stands in opposition to a repeal of the policy.

“Public health and public safety, not politics, should drive the federal government’s decision on when to end Title 42,” Murphy said in a statement this month. The congresswoman said she believes Title 42 “should only be lifted once we have a comprehensive and properly-resourced plan in place that treats asylum seekers with decency and humanity, protects our communities, is consistent with American values, and does not compromise our national security.”

Maine Democrat Rep. Jared Golden, who is seeking re-election and partnered with Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales to lead an effort to prevent the Biden administration from lifting Title 42 without already having a plan in place to deal with the surge in migrants at the border, said the policy “cannot remain in place permanently” and warned that “Biden must ensure that DHS and its personnel, facilities and processes are ready before rolling it back.”

“The Biden administration is not currently prepared for a large increase in border crossings,” Golden said. “Ending these Title 42 authorities without a plan in place to manage the resulting influx of migrants is irresponsible and could create crisis conditions that would be dangerous for both migrants coming to America and Americans themselves.”

Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock, who won a 2021 special election and is now seeking a full term, also opposes the move. “Sen. Warnock believes in protecting the humanity of migrants at the border, but before this policy is rescinded, the administration should present a plan for how it will ensure our border security has the manpower, infrastructure, humanitarian and legal resources they need to prevent this policy change from making an already dire humanitarian situation worse,” a Warnock spokesperson said in a statement earlier this month.

Sen. Raphael Warnock arrives for the Senate Democrats' weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol on June 15, 2021.

Sen. Raphael Warnock arrives for the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol on June 15, 2021.
(Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has also spoken out against the move, saying the decision to end the policy “will only add to the strain on our broken immigration system.”

“Ending Title 42 is expected to cause a significant increase of migration to the United States and put more pressure on an already broken system,” Tester wrote in an April letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “These problems do not only affect the southern border, but put more strain on those working to secure the northern border as well.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has described the move as a “frightening decision” and said last week that Title 42 has been “essential” in combating COVID-19 and controlling the migrant flows.

“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 said. “We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx.”

Arizona Democrat Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have both written to and spoken with Mayorkas to express their concerns about the policy being lifted without proper planning.

In an interview with Fox News Digital last week, Kelly warned of a “crisis” if the order is ended without careful preparation.

Sen. Mark Kelly talks with CBP personnel at the border in Douglas, Arizona.

Sen. Mark Kelly talks with CBP personnel at the border in Douglas, Arizona.
(Office of Sen. Kelly)

“So lifting Title 42 without a plan, without additional resources, without the money for buses or a plan for drivers and facilities to house folks, it’s going to be a crisis,” Kelly said. “It’s not a very humanitarian thing to do.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., meanwhile, has said that ending the order “will likely lead to a migrant surge that the administration does not appear to be ready for.”

Despite her willingness to sign onto letters calling for a reversal to the policy when it was used under former President Trump’s administration, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., has now changed her tune.

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“This is the wrong way to do this and it will leave the administration unprepared for a surge at the border,” Cortez Masto said in a statement this month. “We should be working to fix our immigration system by investing in border security and treating immigrant families with dignity. Instead, the administration is acting without a detailed plan.”

Cortez Masto’s comments come after a 2020 letter that she and several other congressional Democrats signed that referred to the policy as the “CDC asylum ban.” The letter also said the policy was “designed to further an ongoing agenda to exclude asylum seekers.”

Others, including Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Kim Schrier, D-Wash., who are both seeking re-election, previously said a plan must be in place to handle the crisis at the border before Title 42 is lifted.

Craig said a “concrete plan to enforce our laws and ensure order in our immigration system” is needed and warned that not having a plan in place could “precipitate a significant influx of migrants arriving at our southern border which our current system simply isn’t prepared to handle.”

Migrants heading north along a highway near San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Migrants heading north along a highway near San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
(AP Photo/Delmer Martinez)

Schrier insisted the border “situation is chaotic, even with Title 42 in place.”

“I believe strongly that the Biden administration should not end Title 42 without a comprehensive plan that provides order and security, ensures safety and prevents a humanitarian crisis on either side of the border,” Schrier said. “What we are doing right now at the southern border is not working.”

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Earlier this month, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., said she supported the removal of Title 42 “because the COVID numbers have gone way down.” However, her position on the issue seems to have changed, according to her spokesperson.

“Until there is a plan to put more boots on the ground and support our law enforcement officers at the border, Chief Demings does not support lifting Title 42,” the spokesperson said.

Of the numerous inquiries sent out by Fox News Digital, several members of Congress refused to comment on the subject that has caused severe tension among members in the party.

In an emailed response to Fox News Digital, David Carle, communications director for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., refused to address the subject.