Commentary: Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today continued to push the Biden administration to keep critical border health protections in place. Media reports indicate the administration may end the use of Title 42 authority before July 31.
"As the situation at the border continues to worsen, Title 42 has been the only thing preventing your border crisis from turning into a complete and uncontrollable catastrophe," Herrell wrote to Homeland (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a letter co-signed by Representatives Brian Babin (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).
The letter, signed by representatives from every border state, noted that "[i]f Title 42 is lifted, a surge of illegal immigration will hit our border, dwarfing what is happening today, which has reached crisis numbers already."
Last month's 5,800-plus daily illegal border crossings were nearly six times the 1,000/day crisis-level defined by the Obama administration. In May 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 180,034 illegal immigrants along the southwest border, a 20-year monthly high.
Herrell introduced legislation in January to keep Title 42 in place. The PAUSE Act would require the border health protections remain in effect until: (1) all state and federal lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, curfews, and other COVID-19 mandates end; (2) all public and federal public health emergencies for COVID-19 end; and (3) the CDC traveler health risk level for Canada and Mexico is reduced to Level 1.
"Title 42 will help prevent the introduction of new cases and variants of COVID-19 from Central America and Latin America, where the pandemic still rages," the representatives wrote. "To end Title 42 now, while the pandemic continues in Latin America, sends the message that illegal immigration is more important than protecting Americans."
Guatemala and Brazil are both currently above 90 percent of their peak weekly infection rates for COVID-19. CBP has encountered more than 170,000 migrants from those two countries alone in the past eight months.