Border lawmakers from Texas' Congressional delegation have joined U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in asking the Biden administration to keep a controversial public health order in place to help slow the increase of migrants crossing into Texas.
U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, Tony Gonzales, a Republican from San Antonio, and Cornyn on Tuesday implored Biden to keep in place Title 42, a public health designation that allows American border agents to quickly return migrants to Mexico without allowing them to apply for asylum. The Trump administration invoked Title 42 in 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19, and it was kept in place by Pres. Biden despite opposition from Democrats and several immigrant rights organizations.
Last month, a federal judge ruled the policy was "arbitrary and capricious" and ordered the Biden admiration to stop enforcing it. The White House has appealed the decision, but without action from the courts soon, the policy will end on Dec. 21
"While admittedly imperfect, termination of the CDC's Title 42 order at this time will result in a complete loss of operational control over the southern border, a profoundly negative impact on border communities, and significant suffering and fatalities among the migrants unlawfully entering the United States," the lawmakers wrote to Biden. (The letter was also signed by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.) "As long as Title 42 remains our only effective tool for controlling unlawful migration — along with the expectation of its imminent rescission — pressure will continue to build on the southern border."
Though the lawmakers acknowledged the court's order has tied Biden's hands, they nonetheless asked the president to "do everything within [his] power" to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order. Cornyn’s office said it was preparing a response to The Texas Newsroom’s question about how the Biden administration could legally circumvent the court’s order. We’ll update this story with the response.
The request comes as thousands of migrants from South and Central America continue to make their way to the Texas-Mexico border in hopes of applying for asylum, which is legal under current U.S. law. Border officials in El Paso said Monday that they encountered nearly 2,500 migrants a day from Friday to Sunday. The influx has forced federal officials to release hundreds of migrants into the streets because of a lack of space in processing facilities.
The average number of daily releases in El Paso stood at about 900 as of Monday, according to statistics from the City of El Paso. That includes nearly 300 "daily street releases," according to the information, in addition to the more than 5,100 migrants who are in CBP custody daily.
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