Title 42 is a Public Health Measure, Not an Immigration Strategy
Washington, DC – Following the announcement by CDC that Title 42 restrictions will be lifted in late May, the response from skeptics has focused on what’s next: what can we expect this summer in terms of border encounters, and does the administration have a plan to deal with it?
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Title 42 is a public health policy, not an immigration plan. It has been in existence as a border control measure for two years, and by all objective reviews, has been a failure. It inflated the number of “border encounters” by quadrupling the number of repeat crossers, and it stopped the use of consequence delivery mechanisms under existing law.
So the angst over lifting Title 42 isn’t based on sound analysis or good policy. Instead, it reflects bad faith Republican framing, the amplification of right wing narratives by too many in the mainstream media, and the lack of a White House strategy to lean into and engage the debate.
Yes, smugglers will take advantage of any policy change to recruit new clients. And yes, the conditions in the sending countries continue to be dangerous. So, we can and should expect an increase in those seeking safety at our southern border this summer.
Fortunately, the Biden administration does have a plan. It’s a good plan. The goal is to restore a fair and functional border security and asylum system. It is designed to create order and justice at our southern border. The key elements include ramping up operational capacity, surging staff and resources, creating new processing centers, and making case reviews and decisions more efficient. Those who are eligible for asylum will be protected and approved; those who are not will be given their day in court and if unsuccessful, they will be removed. If you don’t think it’s strong enough, make concrete recommendations regarding how to improve it.
In the long term, the administration is doing something that no other administration has done: advance an intelligent and integrated regional strategy that combines alleviating root causes, interrupting smuggling networks, providing legal channels from and safe haven in the region from where asylum-seekers flee, and buttressing the asylum system with sufficient adjudicators, increased legal representation and humane case management programs to ensure an orderly process characterized by fair and final decisions.
In fact, more broadly speaking, what is badly needed is to modernize our immigration system through a long overdue legislative overhaul. The system needs to institute new and clear rules to strengthen its integrity, reflect our values and serve our interests. But, Republicans are more interested in scoring political points with white grievance voters than in working with Democrats to address an outdated and dysfunctional immigration system.
We cannot let the Republicans’ bad faith politics and Stephen Miller’s cynicism destroy our commitment to fair, humane and orderly immigration. While GOP obstruction blocks needed legislative reforms, their political strategy is dependent on “open borders” falsehoods and “replacement theory” conspiracies. If they return to power, Republicans will pick up where Trump and Miller left off and pursue the same cruel and chaotic policies.
C’mon Democrats. Lean in. Call out Republican lies and stand up for a vision of a confident, strong and capable America that is competent enough to manage upticks and downturns in forced migration at our southern border. The Biden administration has the right plan, and it doesn’t involve re-upping Stephen Miller’s evil brainchild.