The announcement that a federal judge has temporarily blocked President Joe Biden and his administration from lifting a Title 42 public health order at the Mexico border on May 23 was welcomed news to the communities and law enforcement agencies still reeling from the ongoing influx of undocumented migrants which started after Biden was sworn in.
Federal officials admitted to Judge Robert Summerhays with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana that once Title 42 is fully lifted, the number of border crossings are expected to “increase significantly” to as many as 18,000 migrants each day. As a result, last Friday the judge granted a request by 21 states for a preliminary injunction which forces the White House to comply with various federal rules before making any more changes to Title 42 enforcement.
In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under President Donald Trump invoked Title 42, which is part of the Public Health Services Act of 1944 aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the country. Title 42 allows federal officials to suspend the right to introduce migrants -including those seeking asylum- by sealing the land borders into the United States and expelling crossers back into Mexico or return them to their home countries.
Biden later loosened Title 42 to no longer apply to unaccompanied children or to certain migrants who can show a “significant law enforcement, officer and public safety, humanitarian, or public health” interest.
For the month of April 2022, only 42 percent of crossers were expelled under Title 42, according to a report issued by Rep. John Katko of New York. By then, the CDC had announced Title 42 would end May 23, to be replaced by unspecified plans to control COVID-19 in other ways.
Arizona is among the states named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which contends the end of Title 42 will bring “much greater numbers of paroled aliens with non-meritorious asylum claims who were induced to enter the United States because of the Termination Order.”
Summerhays was assigned the states’ lawsuit and issued a temporary restraining order against Biden, the CDC, and federal immigration officials to keep Title 42 in place until the legal challenge is complete.
Part of that challenge involves ensuring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a workable a plan ready to implement for border operations once Title 42 is lifted. The Administrative Procedures Act (APA) requires a public notice period, with sufficient time for comment, before the CDC’s Title 42 order can be ended. And there is a requirement that the CDC show its proposed change is not “arbitrary and capricious.”
The lawsuit contends keeping Title 42 in place until an APA-compliant plan is in place will prevent “an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe.”
Summerhays was asked to change the temporary order into a permanent injunction, which he considered last week. His May 20 ruling notes the states provided sufficient evidence to support their argument that the CDC’s announced termination of Title 42 will increase community and state costs for healthcare, education, and public safety as a result of “increased border crossings and that, based on the government’s estimates, the increase may be as high as three-fold.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich called Summerhays’ ruling “a significant win,” and noted that maintaining Title 42 for now is vital.
“I’m grateful to the court for upholding the rule of law and helping maintain some level of sanity as we continue to battle the Biden-made border crisis,” Brnovich said.
In the meantime, U.S. Border Patrol Chief John Modlin of the Tucson Sector continues to tweet about the never-ending group of undocumented migrants and deadly fentanyl coming across the southwest border.
Modlin announced earlier this month that Tucson Sector agents hosted a binational training for immigration officers assigned to the Instituto Nacional de Migración. The training held at the Nogales Station included first aid and fentanyl exposure. It will enhance the handling of emergencies along the shared border, Modlin noted.
Modlin also recently hosted a delegation from Poland and the Baltic states to discuss border security best practices. And he shared information about that two large groups of had been encountered by USBP agents near Lukeville.
Those taken into custody were citizens of Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, and Peru.
Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs declared it was “ridiculous” that the border crisis was a core issue for the governor’s race. Hobbs made the remarks during an interview with the Arizona Republic.
Hobbs asserted that it wouldn’t matter how she talked about the border because Republicans would only twist her words. It is unclear whether her observation came from recent controversy over her apparent reversal on the Biden administration’s plan to rescind Title 42.
“It’s ridiculous that we are talking about this as a core issue in the governor’s race,” said Hobbs. “I could stand here and say ‘Build the wall,’ and they’re gonna call me open borders. It doesn’t really matter what I say for the Republicans, they’re going to just misconstrue everything.”
Hobbs’ latest statement appears to be a pivot from her remarks issued last October, when she insisted that alleviating border crisis pressures would be one of her primary focuses as governor.
“The situation at our border puts pressure on all our communities. We have to reduce illegal border crossings in a way that promotes security and safety for everyone and most efficiently uses taxpayers’ dollars,” said Hobbs. “Arizonans need a leader who is learning from the officials who are on the front lines and understand this important issue best. I’m committed to listening, learning, and working on the ground to ensure our borders are secure.”
Hobbs also changed her perspective on the revocation of Title 42 recently. Within one month, Hobbs shifted her public message from supporting Title 42’s immediate end because it “isn’t working” to declaring that doing so would be a “rash decision” that would result in a “disaster.”
Hobbs hasn’t been the only Democratic candidate for a state-level office to dismiss border concerns this week. Democratic congressional candidate and former state senator Kirsten Engel went one step further, arguing that the current state of the border doesn’t constitute a crisis.
Engel issued that assessment during a Wednesday night debate hosted on “Arizona Horizon” by PBS. Engel’s Democratic opponent, State Representative Daniel Hernández Jr. (D-Tucson), contended with her denial of the border crisis.
Hobbs and Engel represent a greater division within their party on the significance and reality of the border crisis. Hobbs’ opponents, Aaron Lieberman and Marco Lopez, have each offered their own takes. Lieberman has said he will defer to federal actors to work out the border crisis.
Lopez has insisted that rhetoric painting the border situation as dangerous was misleading.
The invasion crisis on our southern border is baffling. How could this outrage be happening?
The White House wants you to believe that they’re powerless to stop it. They’re willing to appear negligent and/or stupid to keep the wheels turning.
But there’s only one possible explanation that holds water: it’s a plan. And it’s working, as the border zone is flooded with millions of illegal immigrants, almost all of whom will stay permanently and lay the groundwork for an invincible voting bloc in the future.
If they sincerely wanted to do something about it, officials wouldn’t have to do any complicated thinking. Just stop egging on illegal immigrants to come and reinstate the Trump-era policies that were at least somewhat helpful.
You have to almost admire the masterminds of this catastrophe for persevering in the face of growing bipartisan revulsion at this inhumane tragedy. They are playing the long game—even at the price of taking short-term political hits.
In contrast to the helpless-to-resist image they’re trying to peddle, they’re contemplating the revocation of Title 42, a Trump era rule allowing migrant crossings to be turned away for public health reasons. Homeland Security projects ending Title 42 would result in an inconceivable 18,000 migrant crossings daily, up from our already unmanageable 7,000. At that rate, by the end of Biden’s term, one in five American residents would be here illegally.
Americans don’t need to be told the results of massive illegal immigration. We live it daily. Illegal immigrants by law have access to our emergency rooms. Over half of the newborns at LA County Hospital are newly minted American citizens born to illegal immigrant parents at taxpayer expense.
Illegal immigrants crowd our schools, forcing our already stressed educational system to divert focus to ESL instruction. Moreover, they undercut unskilled American workers and drive down their wages.
They also contribute to our burgeoning crime problem. The number of criminals who have evaded Border Patrol is obviously unknown, but over 40 migrants on the terror watchlist have been apprehended in addition to those who have slipped through. Enough fentanyl has been imported for every single American to have taken a fatal overdose.
But America’s greatest threat from massive illegal immigration isn’t the effect on our safety, our education, nor our healthcare. It’s not the welfare and correctional services illegal immigrants consume. The greatest danger is losing our nationhood.
America is uniquely a nation based not on geography nor blood but on its values and ideals. We have amply demonstrated our ability to absorb large numbers of immigrants who love America, who come because they want to be Americans and share our values and ideals, established in our Declaration and Constitution.
Illegal immigrants, by contrast, begin their relationship by defying a foundational principle that has made the U.S. a magnet for immigrants since its creation: the Rule of Law. This is the belief that we are ruled by laws, not men (people), and that each of us stand as a free and equal individual before the law.
Unfortunately, this tsunami of immigration from socialist autocracies where corruption is the norm is occurring at a time where in America is struggling with growing levels of tribalism. E pluribus unum is fading as many Americans now identify primarily as members of a political, racial, or other group that competes for favors from government.
Assimilation is now scorned as a micro-aggression. America is regarded by its own citizens as oppressive and bigoted.
Tens of millions of illegal immigrants who neither know nor care about America’s defining values don’t bode well for our future. In a decade or two, we’ll undoubtedly begin to hear about how they “deserve” citizenship, they’ve been here a long time, don’t have any other home, and so on. Our unity as Americans will become more fractured.
Americans are historically compassionate and resilient. But it is past time for Americans to reinforce the crucial distinction between illegal and legal immigrants.
It’s not racist or xenophobic to protect our borders from those who ignore our principles but want to enjoy the fruits of our success. It is crucial to the survival of America as we know it.
On Monday, a federal judge ordered the Biden administration to continue executing Title 42, a Trump-era policy allowing for expedited deportations and asylum processing.
Louisiana Western District Court Judge Robert Summerhays, a Trump-appointed judge and native of Fort Worth, Texas, issued the temporary restraining order (TRO). According to the conference minutes, the attorney generals engaged in the case will negotiate with the Biden administration on how to continue implementation of Title 42.
The TRO was the latest development in Brnovich’s lawsuit against the Biden administration for ending Title 42 at all, in what Brnovich characterized as “the worst border crisis in history.” Per monthly and annual reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Brnovich’s assessment appears accurate.
Brnovich led two other states, Louisiana and Missouri, in filing the lawsuit.
In a press release, Brnovich thanked Summerhays for keeping Title 42 in place.
“The Biden administration cannot continue in flagrant disregard for existing laws and required administrative procedures,” remarked Brnovich.
In some reports, the case is filed as Arizona v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, et al., but federal court records list the case as Louisiana, et al. v. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The case number is 6:22-cv-00885.
The Biden administration promised to end Title 42 come May 23. However, the attorney generals learned through court filings provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that the policy was being terminated prematurely.
The next hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled for May 13.
On Friday, Governor Doug Ducey called on Arizona’s congressional delegation to urge the Biden-Harris administration not to lift Title 42 border protections. In his letter to delegation members, the Governor expressed Arizona’s grave concern about reports the Biden administration plans to roll back Title 42 border protections imminently.
“I am writing to you today to share details of the impact this dangerous and misguided idea would have on Arizona and to request your assistance on behalf of the people of Arizona in urging the Biden administration to maintain these critical protections,” the Governor wrote to Arizona’s two U.S. Senators and nine U.S. Representatives.
The Governor’s letter to the delegation comes after he urged Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky on Tuesday not to lift Title 42.
“Lifting Title 42 now would prohibit the vast majority of those expulsions and result in hundreds of thousands of additional migrants entering the United States and being permitted to stay, without a plan to test or vaccinate those that may spread not just COVID-19 but also the numerous variants that are beginning to spread throughout the world and are deadlier than COVID-19 itself,” Governor Ducey states in the letter. “It is clear that the Biden administration does not have a plan, the resources, the facilities, or indeed the ability to deal with the unaccompanied minors and families currently being permitted to cross.”
Governor Ducey recently signed into law more than $55 million in funding for the Arizona National Guard border mission and assistance for local law enforcement with border security operations. Governor Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked all U.S. governors to send available law enforcement resources to Arizona and Texas to assist with border security efforts. Governor Ducey and 19 fellow governors also wrote a letter calling on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to reverse their destructive policies that have created the crisis at the southern border.
Dear Members of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation,
This week I sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky expressing Arizona’s grave concern about reports the Biden administration plans to roll back Title 42 border protections imminently. I am writing to you today to share details of the impact this dangerous and misguided idea would have on Arizona and to request your assistance on behalf of the people of Arizona in urging the Biden administration to maintain these critical protections.
Should the Biden administration choose to end these protections, they would be causing nothing short of a catastrophic surge of both illegal immigration and COVID-19 disease along our southern border. As Arizona continues to deal with the man-made crisis at our border, ending Title 42 will threaten the health and safety of not only Arizonans, but all Americans, and our already broken border will explode, overwhelming border patrol, law enforcement, non-profits and health care professionals. By lifting this policy, the Biden administration will be responsible for not only exacerbating our border crisis, but in effect, proactively and knowingly importing COVID-19 variants into the United States, starting in border states like Arizona.
Under Title 42, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may prohibit the entry of individuals into the country when “there is a serious danger of the introduction of a communicable disease into the United States.” Since the implementation of the Title 42 order, we have all seen that other countries — especially those south of the United States — have had difficulty in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to struggle with testing and vaccination of those in their countries.
Title 42 has ensured that the risk posed by migration to the United States of those to our southern border is mitigated to protect our citizens. In March, April, and May of this year alone, Title 42 has allowed Customs and Border Protection to swiftly expel over 329,000 individuals who had crossed into the United States without legal authorization to do so. Lifting Title 42 now would prohibit the vast majority of those expulsions and result in hundreds of thousands of additional migrants entering the United States and being permitted to stay, without a plan to test or vaccinate those that may spread not just COVID-19 but also the numerous variants that are beginning to spread throughout the world and are deadlier than COVID-19 itself.
It is clear that the Biden administration does not have a plan, the resources, the facilities, or indeed the ability to deal with the unaccompanied minors and families currently being permitted to cross. In fact, the administration has resorted to using hotels and motels with little monitoring to house these unaccompanied minors and families due to the lack of infrastructure available to support such an influx of migrants. Adding hundreds of thousands of single adults will only exacerbate the problem.
The Biden administration has stated that “now is not the time for migrants to come to the US Border,” but revoking Title 42 is tantamount to issuing a cordial invitation and will certainly be used as such in communications by the cartels and human smugglers that entice people in Central America to make the dangerous journey north in order to turn a profit. These organizations have very little concern for the well-being of those being trafficked let alone those in the United States.
An open-borders strategy is never wise, but it is an even worse idea right now, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in many countries south of our border. Title 42 is one of the only measures remaining in place which allows not only the federal authorities but also state and local public health professionals to maintain public health that they have worked so hard for over the past 17 months of this pandemic. To continue to ensure the safety and security that we have achieved in this country following the COVID-19 outbreak, our borders cannot withstand a surge in migration that the lifting of Title 42 will cause.
With legal travel still limited between the United States, Mexico and Canada due to the pandemic, and the administration continuing to advocate for federal, state and local restrictions on schools and private businesses, lifting Title 42 would be nothing short of outrageous and an insult to all Americans who have been forced to deal with these restrictions.
I am strongly urging the Biden administration to keep the Title 42 order in place until all other COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and the United States has some assurances that those countries to our south have implemented strategies to protect against its spread.
I respectfully request your assistance and advocacy on this critical matter. Thank you for your consideration of these issues and please let our office know if there is anything we can do to assist as you are representing our state in Washington D.C.
Douglas A. Ducey
State of Arizona