Hawley takes aim at Biden administration’s abdication of responsibility for post-Title 42 immigration surge

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., took aim at the Department of Homeland Security’s relinquishing of responsibility as the health care executive order 42 expires amid rising immigration numbers. at the border in the coming days.

Hawley’s letter to Acting DHS Assistant Secretary Blas Nunes-Neto noted widespread predictions, including by DHS, of an additional increase in migration when Title 42 expires next week.

The order, which since March 2020 has allowed the rapid removal of immigrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to expire on December 21, and Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed concern about an overcrowding when that happens. .

DHS concurred with these predictions, requesting an additional $4 billion in funding based on projections of 9,000 to 15,000 crossings per day. For context, the record average for fiscal year 2022 was 2.3 million migrant crossings — roughly 6,500 crossings per day.


Migrants are seen at the El Paso airport on Friday, December 9, 2022.
(James Garza)

Hawley also notes on Monday in El Paso, citing an increase in recent crossings involving a large migrant caravan and “immigrants are crowding the southern border, waiting for Title 42 to expire.”

“But it appears that your department has not taken any significant steps to prepare for the impending increase in illegal immigration,” he says.

Hawley also cites an earlier exchange with Nunes-Neto that the end of official Title 42, if accompanied by the proliferation of other removal authorities, would eventually lead to fewer fears.

“I think that over time, as we begin to restore significant immigration impacts to people at the border, particularly by using expedited removal for single adults and particularly for those from Mexico, you will see a reduction,” Nunes-Neto said. .

The Biden administration has repeatedly said it has a six-point plan to end Title 42. This includes more resources for the border, increased cooperation with countries such as Mexico, and a stronger anti-smuggling campaign and greater use of it. alternative methods of enforcement, such as the faster removal of migrants from the border.

DHS is also considering expanding the use of humanitarian parole, a program similar to the one used to allow Venezuelan nationals to enter the U.S. — a program combined with the Title 42 expansion.

DHS Secretary Mayorkas was asked this week about the possibility of limiting asylum claims. and said El Paso Times: “There has been a lot of discussion about different ideas and how to handle the number of encounters we’re experiencing at the border. No decisions have been made.”


Despite the six-point plan, Hawley is one of many Republicans and Democrats who are unhappy with DHS’ impending sharp increase in immigration.

“However, your department does not seem to have taken any meaningful steps to protect the border against these convoys,” he said. “This is inexcusable and an abdication of your legal responsibility.”

Hawley asks whether the administration still believes ending Title 42 will reduce the number of immigration encounters, what policy positions it has developed against the increase, and what additional powers and resources it is providing to the two border regions.

With Title 42 just days away, lawmakers in Congress are considering a potential immigration deal that would extend Title 42 in exchange for a path to citizenship for two million illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, the White House has urged Republicans to support a $4 billion request for additional funding. The money funds “border management,” and DHS uses it for soft facilities, migrant care, transportation, processing, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

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