Governors of border states, including Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, are calling on the Biden administration to continue using Title 42, a Trump-era public health measure that allows for the deportation of migrants to the US-Mexico border as a way to slow the cross-border spread of Covid-19.
Ducey sent a letter to Biden on July 16, saying, “As Arizona continues to face the man-made crisis at our border, the end of Title 42 will threaten the health and safety of not only the Arizonans, but all Americans, and our already broken border will explode. , overwhelming border patrols, law enforcement, nonprofits and health professionals.
The governor was joined by members of Congress from the border states, Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona, Rep. Yvette Herrell, RN.M., and Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, in supporting a resolution supporting the title 42.
“During my recent trip to the southern border, officers from across our immigration system – Office of Customs and Border Protection, Field Operations and Air and Marine Operations, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – all stressed the importance of Title 42 public health authorities. in protecting our nation from COVID-19 and strengthening the security of our borders, ”Lesko said in a declaration.
The Biden administration is under pressure from progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to abandon its use of Title 42.
The Trump administration enacted Title 42 in 2020, which allows the deportation of undocumented migrants through the public health authority held by the federal government. The previous administration justified the passage of Title 42 under the Public Health Services Act of 1944, which authorizes the Director of Disease Control deny all entry into the United States if they think that “there is a serious danger of introducing a communicable disease into the United States”.
Despite opposition from progressive interest groups, the Biden administration has not ended the use of Title 42. The administration cited concerns of Covid-19, including recurring outbreaks and variants of the virus, as a justification for leaving the policy in place.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said this title 42, “Is motivated by the imperative of public health. It is not an immigration tool. It is a public health tool to protect not only the American people but the migrants themselves. ”
ACLU, a Title 42 opponent, and other progressive groups last week took the battle over the measure to court, arguing that it is being used as an anti-immigration tool rather than as part of a Covid-19 mitigation effort.
While Title 42 was in effect, the US-Mexico border saw a record number of asylum seekers.
In the first six months of 2021, there have been more than 900,000 meetings at the border, of which 575,000 were immediately turned back under Title 42.
Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute, noted the influx of migrants is indicative of the need for broader reforms of the immigration system.
“It means things like making sure that we rebuild our refugee system to receive refugees from all over the world, that we take positive steps to welcome asylum seekers and restore the asylum process at the border,” he said. he declared.
The Centers for Disease Control earlier this month released an announcement regarding the extension of the order because the risk of transmission of Covid-19 at the border is still significant.
The agency noted that the ordinance “will remain in effect until the CDC director determines that the hazard to covered non-citizens has ceased to be a serious public health hazard and the ordinance is no longer needed to protect public health”.
The debate over the use of Title 42 runs alongside the severe restrictions on so-called “non-essential” border crossings at the northern and southern borders of the United States that apply to documented travelers, including from Canada and Mexico. neighbors.
The United States, since March of last year, has restricted entry at land border entry points only to people making what DHS considers essential travel, such as commuting to work or school.
Land entry point restrictions, which apply to documented Canadian and Mexican nationals as well as travelers from outside North America, do not exist in the air environment, which means that a Mexican national with a valid visa can travel to the United States, but cannot drive.
The restrictions have hurt the economies of border communities, according to business advocates.
Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce south of San Diego, said his community has struggled.
“The sad thing is 1,900 jobs have been lost, 1,900 families relying on mom or dad for a job to put food on the table, those jobs no longer exist,” Wells said. noted. “Look, on San Ysidro Boulevard, 95% of our clientele comes from Mexico, and the vast majority of them are pedestrians with tourist visas, precisely those who cannot pass today and who do not have been able to do this for 18 months. “
The mayors of San Diego and surrounding areas Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, National City and Coronado have co-signed a letter last month in Mayorkas on the consequences of travel restrictions.
“Our region is suffering a weekly economic blow of at least $ 7.5 million to our retail industry due to continued non-essential travel restrictions,” they wrote.