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Dems blocked Republican push to prevent Biden’s halt on policy expelling most migrants to Mexico

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

House Democrats blocked a Republican amendment to consider a bill that would prevent the Biden administration from ending a policy used to expel most migrants arriving at the southern border to Mexico Tuesday.

Democrats blocked Republican New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell’s Pause Act, a bill that would allow border officials to continue enforcing a Trump-era public health order known as Title 42 by a vote of 214-195, according to a statement. The Trump-era public health order known as Title 42, was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and border officials have used the directive to rapidly expel tens of thousands of migrants to Mexico, Axios reported June 20.

“Title 42 is the only major Trump-era border policy left in place under the administration. As it allows the Border Patrol to quickly expel illegal immigrants, sending them back across the border, instead of placing them in congregate facilities where outbreaks of COVID-19 and other variants are all but guaranteed,” Herrell said in a statement.

“Ending Title 42 would turn what is already a crisis into an unmitigated, uncontrollable, and undeniable catastrophe,” Herrell added.

The Biden administration is considering lifting Title 42 on July 31, according to Axios. Border officials expelled around 295,000 migrants from February through April, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Democrats have criticized the Biden administration for allowing border officials to continue expelling migrants under Title 42 since COVID-19 vaccination rates have increased in the U.S., according to Axios. Nearly 55% of American’s have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and around 47% are fully vaccinated, Reuters reported.

“Ending Title 42 now, while fewer than half of American citizens are fully vaccinated, sends the message that illegal immigration is more important than protecting Americans,” Herrell said in a statement. “We must preserve Title 42 border restrictions until all local, state, and federal government restrictions end; until all state and federal public health emergencies end; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 travel risk levels for Canada and Mexico have been reduced to Level 1.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration will keep Title 42 in place in accordance with CDC guidelines, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in May. The CDC declined to comment on when the restrictions would be lifted.

“Think from October to December 2020, in the previous administration there were 185,000 expulsions made under Title 42 … that was 85% of all encounters,” Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy said in a statement. “Compare to the Biden administration since relaxing Title 42, not yet eliminating it although that’s allegedly coming, relaxing it, only 64% of encounters were enforced between February to April 2021 leaving 289,000 exceptions under Title 42.”

Border officials encountered a record number of migrants totaling over 180,000 people attempting to illegally enter the U.S. at the southern border in May, according to CBP.

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