By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden’s latest immigration policy change has taken heavy fire from a range of critics, but now even his own administration is raising concerns.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement Monday saying that President Biden’s latest immigration policy change will lead to illegal immigration “above the current high levels.”
“As a result of the CDC’s termination of its Title 42 public health order, we will likely face an increase in encounters above the current high levels,” said CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. “There are a significant number of individuals who were unable to access the asylum system for the past two years, and who may decide that now is the time to come.”
Former President Donald Trump instituted the policy in question, Title 42. That policy expedited expulsion of illegal immigrants at the border as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the U.S.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that federal agents encountered about 2 million migrants attempting to illegally enter the country in 2021, part of a surge in illegal immigration since Mr. Biden took office. That figure does not include migrants who entered the country without being undetected.
The Biden administration announced Friday it would end Title 42, which has become a key tool for authorities to quickly remove illegal immigrants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday it would revoke the policy.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the agency said in a statement. “With CDC’s assistance and guidance, DHS has and will implement additional COVID-19 mitigation procedures.
Despite saying that the removal of Title 42 will increase illegal immigration, CBP said Title 42, “implemented at the height of the pandemic, is not a border management authority.”
“Throughout our agency’s history we have capably managed immigration at the border utilizing the authorities under Title 8 of the US Code (traditional immigration management authorities),” CBP said. “These authorities allow non-citizens appropriate access to make asylum claims and include a range of enforcement options to hold individuals accountable for entering the U.S. illegally. This means most individuals who cross the border without legal authorization will be promptly placed in removal proceedings.”
The Border patrol statement comes the same day as a lawsuit from three Republican-led states. Louisiana, Missouri and Arizona filed the suit, which argues that removing the order is “profoundly illegal.”
“The Title 42 Revocation thus stands as a radical outlier – seemingly the only COVID-19-based restriction the Administration sees fit to end,” the lawsuit reads. “But the CDC’s Termination Order is not merely unfathomably bad public policy. It is also profoundly illegal. That is principally so for two reasons: (1) Defendants unlawfully flouted the notice-and-comment requirements for rule-making under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and (2) Defendants’ Termination Order is arbitrary and capricious, thus violating the APA, because it has numerous omissions that each independently render it illegal.”
Critics pointed to other Biden-era immigration policies, such as narrowing the focus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to only focus on migrants with criminal records, for the spike in illegal immigration.
“From day one, the Biden administration has been, on a massive scale, simultaneously undermining immigration enforcement and using parole and asylum as a backdoor means of legalizing illegal aliens,” said Ken Oliver, an immigration expert at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Title 42 was the sole remaining finger in the dike, holding back the flood. And now they are going to pull that finger out.”
Other governors have criticized the Biden administration for its handling of the southern border.
“Joe Biden’s reckless border policies have allowed 2+ million foreigners to enter our country illegally via the southern border. Revoking Title 42 will supercharge the skyrocketing flow of illegal aliens, increasing drug, human and sex trafficking,” Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter. “This is a dereliction of duty!”