Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing at least: Encounters with illegal aliens at the southern border will increase when Title 42 expires on May 11.
President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security “expects that encounters at the southwest border will increase as smugglers spread disinformation, which will place a strain on our immigration system, our communities, and our dedicated workforce,” according to a DHS statement.
Title 42, a public health measure set in place by the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, has allowed the Border Patrol to quickly expel some illegal aliens from the country.
As the end of the health measure nears, Biden has authorized 1,500 active-duty U.S. troops to be deployed at the border for 90 days to assist, mainly with transportation and administrative tasks, freeing Border Patrol and other law enforcement to work in the field.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was critical of Biden’s actions on Twitter on Tuesday, writing, “This does nothing to stop illegal immigration.”
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., says that as many as 14,000 illegal aliens are expected to be encountered at the southern border daily when Title 42 ends.
“[W]hat is your plan?” Biggs tweeted Tuesday at Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security.
Mayorkas’ DHS has been preparing for the end of Title 42 for more than a year, according to a recent fact sheet, and already has begun implementation of a plan to address the anticipated increase of illegal aliens arriving at the southern border. The plan consists of “six pillars.”
The first pillar focuses on increasing resources and touts the addition of “2,000 additional non-uniformed personnel” to help Border Patrol process illegal aliens, the hiring of an additional 300 Border Patrol agents, increasing border surveillance, constructing new processing centers, using larger vehicles to transport illegal aliens from the border to processing centers, increasing medical personal on hand, and increasing funding.
The second pillar focuses on processing illegal aliens faster, and the third centers on the establishment of new removal and parole processes.
The fourth pillar includes millions of dollars in funding to non-governmental organizations that transport, house, and provide resources to illegal aliens. The final two pillars of the DHS plan include efforts to target drug and human smugglers and to work with other nations within the Western Hemisphere to address the “root causes of migration.”
Mayorkas joined NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday to discuss the end of Title 42 and told host Chuck Todd that the Biden administration is preparing “within the constraints of a broken immigration system.”
Mayorkas said Biden on “Day One delivered a solution. He delivered immigration reform legislation that we had hoped Congress would act on swiftly. They haven’t.”
While Mayorkas places blame at the feet of Congress, Republicans claim the Biden administration has created the current crisis at the southern border.
“The Biden administration has not just allowed the cartels to expand, but they’ve actually encouraged them. They’ve aided and abetted them. They’ve moved people around for them,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said during an interview with Just the News on Monday.
“The cartels are making billions every month, and that means they’re going to expand their network even more,” Paxton said, adding, “the borders [are] wide open for drugs, and so the cartels are not going to give that up easily. They’re going to want to continue this and grow it, and the Biden administration is doing everything in their power to help them do it.”
Since Biden took office in January 2021, an estimated 5 million illegal aliens have been encountered at the southern border. Already this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, a record 1.2 million illegal aliens have been encountered at the southern border, according to Customs and Border Protection.
El Paso, Texas, Mayor Oscar Leeser declared a 30-day state of emergency that began Monday in preparation for “the unknown” when Title 42 ends. El Paso borders Mexico on the far western side of Texas.
The El Paso sector encompasses 125,500 square miles in Texas and New Mexico. So far in fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol has encountered more than 265,000 illegal aliens there, more than four times as many as were encountered in the sector in all of 2020, according to CBP.
The Texas border cities of Laredo and Brownsville have also issued emergency declarations in preparation for the end of Title 42.
GOP lawmakers introduced a bill, HR 2, the Secure the Border Act, last week they say would address the crisis at the southern border.
Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., said Republicans’ border bill will do what the Biden administration hasn’t done by securing the southern border:
This legislation will hire thousands of new agents. It will pay retention bonuses to front-line officers. We will invest in new technology. We will construct hundreds of miles of walls and barriers. And we will support our local and our state partners.
The time to act is now, and Republicans must lead this fight; the fight to secure our border, the fight to support the hardworking men and women of law enforcement, and the fight to stop the flow of illegal drugs coming into our communities that are killing young Americans.
I promise you, I pledge to you, that as Republicans, we will not back down from this fight. We will bring this legislation to the floor and we will combat the failures of the Biden administration.
The Heritage Foundation, of which The Daily Signal is the news outlet, along with a coalition of other conservative groups, issued a letter Monday applauding the bill and calling for its passage.
“This flagship package represents the strongest border security and enforcement legislation put forth to date,” the letter reads.
GOP lawmakers are optimistic the bill will pass in the Republican-controlled House, but it will likely face opposition in the Senate, where Democrats are in the majority.
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