Sens. Sinema, Kelly have ‘deep concerns’ about ending border health policy

By José Ignacio Castañeda Perez || Arizona Republic

U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing “deep concerns” about the looming end of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that’s been used to expel migrants more than 2.4 million times.

Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., joined the two Arizona Democrats in detailing their worries over the expected impact that the end of the policy will have on border communities, migrants, nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, and Department of Homeland Security employees.

The senators pointed to an expected influx of migrants being released into communities as well as a projected strain of resources for Border Patrol and NGOs once the restriction is lifted.

“While Title 42 expulsion totals reflect repeat attempts to enter the United States, a sharp end to Title 42 would nonetheless significantly increase the number of migrants apprehended along the Southwest Border under Title 8,” the senators wrote in the letter.

The pandemic-era health policy allows border officials to rapidly expel migrants and closes official ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border to asylum seekers, with a few exceptions made through humanitarian parole. Title 42 was invoked in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

On Nov. 15, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., vacated the policy, describing it as “arbitrary and capricious” in violation of federal law. Shortly after his ruling, Sullivan granted the Biden administration five weeks to prepare for the end of the border restriction, which is set to end Dec. 21.

The senators sent the letter three days after Sullivan’s ruling.

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