House Republicans wrote a letter to President Joe Biden on Thursday, warning him of the “grave risk” of ending the Trump-era public health order that allows for migrants to be quickly sent home for public health reasons, which leftist activists have urged Biden to end.
“Simply put, you cannot separate the border crisis from the pandemic,” the letter from 26 Republicans, led by Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington, said.
“Repealing this order would harm Americans and immigrants alike, while pushing our resources to unsustainable levels.”
The Trump administration implemented “Title 42” public health restrictions in March that would allow migrants to be returned to their countries of last transit or origin within minutes for public health reasons, Fox News reported.
“Under Title 42, [Customs and Border Protection] has expelled over 200,000 individuals at the Southwest border in the past four months alone, indisputably slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and protecting our border communities,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Weakening or repealing Title 42 will put our CBP officers at risk, add additional strains to the healthcare delivery systems in border communities, and incentivize more illegal immigrants to come to the US at a time when we must prioritize the health and safety of Americans first.”
Although the Biden administration has not yet indicated that it would reverse Title 42, many migrant groups and left-wing advocacy groups have been urging the Democratic president to do so.
“I urge you to seriously consider the grave risk of allowing undocumented, untested individuals into our country,” the lawmakers wrote.
“With all the efforts the Trump Administration, and now your Administration, have taken to test, prevent, and treat our nation’s citizens and slow the spread of COVID-19, repealing Title 42 would be illogical and indefensible.”
The Biden administration has taken measures to roll back a number of Trump-era policies including ending the Migrant Protection Protocols that allowed migrants to be kept in Mexico.
Biden issued executive orders earlier this month that revoked the Presidential Memorandum of April 6, 2018, which ended “Catch and Release” at the border — the practice of holding immigrants as they enter the U.S. and then releasing them back into U.S. cities.
The policy allows migrants to stay in the United States while they wait for their immigration proceedings to take place, according to KXAN-TV.
It is likely that congressional Republicans will also vote against an expansive immigration bill that was introduced last week that would create an eight-year citizenship path for millions of immigrants already in the U.S. and a faster track for illegal immigrants who arrived as children.
Biden’s attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, said he hasn’t “thought about” whether illegal entry into the United States should remain a crime during his confirmation hearing on Monday.
“I haven’t thought about that question. Uh, uh, I just haven’t thought about that question,” Garland told senators.
“I think the president has made clear that we are a country of, with borders and with a concern about national security. I don’t know of a proposal to decriminalize but still make it unlawful to enter. I just don’t know the answer to that question. I haven’t thought about it.”