The White House's recent decision to end Title 42 expulsions of migrants is poised to be "a disaster politically" for Democrats as they lose suburban and Hispanic support, according to Republican strategist Cesar Conda.
"It simply reinforces the narrative that they will not secure our border and stop illegal immigration," Conda said to The Washington Examiner.
Title 42 expulsions are removals by the U.S. government of migrants who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present.
Centrist Democrat senators are concerned that the Biden administration's decision to end Title 42 expulsions in May will adversely affect their party in the midterms.
Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and the Arizona senators, Mark Kelly, who is up for reelection, and Kyrsten Sinema, are opposed to the White House's decision to end Title 42, especially without having a contingent plan to deal with the pressing border crisis. In a joint statement, they called it a "frightening decision."
"We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the administration ends the Title 42 policy," Manchin said in a statement on Friday.
"Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place," Manchin added.
Kelly, who is fighting a tough first reelection campaign, and Sinema, have been advocating for a post-Title 42 strategy. Though opposed to Title 42's indefinite use, Kelly called the decision "wrong."
"It's unacceptable to end Title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border," he said.
In the joint statement, Sinema added that the decision demonstrated "a lack of understanding about the crisis at our border."
"Prematurely ending Title 42 without a comprehensive, workable plan would put at risk the health and safety of Arizona communities and migrants," she said.
In March 2020, former President Donald Trump invoked the policy through the CDC, intending that it would curb the spread of COVID-19 at the U.S.-Mexico border. The order allows border agents to turn away migrants seeking entry without giving them a chance to explain their fear.
Since then, migrants trying to enter the U.S. have been turned away more than 1.7 million times to Mexico or their home countries.
President Joe Biden's decision to end Title 42 this May coincides with an anticipated worst-case-scenario surge of up to 18,000 border crossings a day as migrants take advantage of warmer weather before the fall elections, The Washington Examiner reported. In response to the decision, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said Biden was overseeing "the worst border crisis in DHS history."
"At every opportunity, Biden has enacted policies that open our southern border, empower drug smugglers and human traffickers, and make American communities less safe," McDaniel said. "By removing Title 42, Biden's doubling down on his commitment to actively worsening the crisis he created."
The White House defended the decision Friday, particularly its staggered rollout, after first making an exception for unaccompanied children in August. Title 42 will not be fully rescinded until May 23, giving DHS time to vaccinate migrants against COVID-19.
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