The White House admitted Wednesday that ending Title 42 border protections, which the Biden administration is reportedly considering, will bring an “influx of people to the border” that is already overwhelmed.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Biden administration is “expected to end the asylum limits at the U.S.-Mexico border by May 23,” referring to the Title 42 public health order implemented by the Trump administration at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border.
White House director of communications Kate Bedingfield declined to confirm the report but said the decision of when to lift Title 42 is solely up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Title 42 is a public health directive, it is not an immigration or migration enforcement measure, so the decision on when to lift Title 42, we defer to the CDC,” Bedingfield responded.
“That being said, of course, we are planning for multiple contingencies, and we have every expectation that when the CDC ultimately decides it’s appropriate to lift Title 42, there will be an influx of people to the border.”
“And so we are doing a lot of work to plan for that contingency,” she continued. “I think you saw yesterday the Department of Homeland Security did a briefing, walking through some of the planning that they’re doing to increase efficiency, to ensure that we have the capacity to ensure that we are operating in a way that that is treating migrants humanely, fairly.”
A number of moderate Democrats have warned the Biden administration against ending Title 42, while progressives have called the order “draconian.”
Meanwhile, there were 164,973 migrant encounters in February, up dramatically from 101,099 in Feb. 21 – a month that preceded a massive surge in the spring and summer months.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said this week the U.S. is due to hit a million encounters at the southern border this fiscal year.