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In break with President Biden, Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to continue Title 42 immigration restrictions

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol after their meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, on Wednesday announced that he’ll cosponsor bipartisan legislation that would extend for another two years a coronavirus emergency health policy known as Title 42 that has been used to keep millions of migrants from entering the United States.

The administration of President Joe Biden announced in January that it would allow pandemic-related national emergencies to expire, including the Trump-era immigration provisions that end Thursday. Those restrictions are called Title 42 because they stem from Title 42 of a 1944 law that permits migration curbs to protect public health.

They allowed border protection agents to immediately remove migrants, including those seeking asylum, on the grounds that the areas where migrants are processed aren’t designed for social distancing or quarantines.

The end of the policy is expected to generate a surge of migrants at the border. It’s also led the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to consider border security legislation.

Brown told reporters Wednesday that border policies of U.S. presidents Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have “failed us,” as they did on trade.

Brown said he thinks the United States should continue the Title 42 policy, as people are still getting sick and dying from “this terrible illness.” He said he plans to cosponsor bipartisan legislation that would extend the Title 42 policy for two years.

“We need more resources at the border,” Brown continued. “That means everything from military people at the border, police at the border, inspectors at the border, mental health professionals at the border to deal with this situation. It’s troubling. And as I said, I don’t think Presidents of either party have really stepped up on this.”

Brown, who is up for re-election in 2024, also broke from Biden last week in voting to overturn the administration’s suspension of tariffs on Chinese solar product parts that go through other countries.

U.S. Sen. JD Vance, a Cincinnati Republican, released a statement on the end of Title 42 that said: “We have a choice in this country: we can choose immigration enforcement and the safety of our own citizens, or we can choose to let cartels run roughshod and bring fentanyl by the ton. The Biden admin has chosen fentanyl and destruction.”

When Biden was asked Tuesday whether the United States is ready to handle the surge of migrants expected to cross the border when Title 42 ends, he told reporters “it remains to be seen.”

He said the United States is getting “overwhelming cooperation” from Mexico in its border control efforts and is setting up offices in Colombia and other countries where people seeking asylum can go first.

“It’s going to be chaotic for a while,” he added.

The White House says it has implemented a comprehensive multi-agency, multi-country plan rooted in enforcement, deterrence, and diplomacy to humanely manage the border when the Title 42 public health order lifts.

A statement from the White House said the Pentagon is sending 1,500 troops to support Border Patrol agents and supporting a massive counter-smuggling operation in the Darien Gap, a stretch of jungle between Panama and Colombia that’s often traversed by migrants to the United States.

The statement said the Department of Homeland Security is expanding detention capacity, surging resources and technology to support border communities, and deploying hundreds more asylum officers and immigration judges to quickly and humanely process migrants. In addition, it said the State Department is opening Regional Processing Centers across the Western Hemisphere to direct migrants to lawful pathways and reduce unlawful immigration.

It said that when Title 42 ends, “individuals who unlawfully cross the U.S. Southwest border will be processed in a matter of days, barred from reentry for at least five years if ordered removed, and would be presumed ineligible for asylum under a proposed regulation, absent an applicable exception.”


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