WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Jared Golden (ME-02), joined by Reps. Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), August Pfluger (TX-07), Stephanie Murphy (FL- 07), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), and Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) introduced today the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022. The bipartisan bill would prevent President Biden from lifting existing Title 42 immigration restrictions without a plan in place from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the expected surge of migrants at the Southern border.
Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the Senate earlier today.
“It is increasingly apparent that the Administration’s decision to end Title 42 without replacing it with a comprehensive plan to secure our southern border will only put further strain on our broken immigration system,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I’ve witnessed firsthand the threats our nation faces from a porous border and a fragmented immigration system, and that’s why we must demand accountability from the Administration with respect to implementing a workable plan that will ensure the humane treatment of migrants and keep our border and neighboring communities safe and secure.”
“The Biden Administration is not currently prepared for a large increase in border crossings,” said Congressman Golden. “Ending these Title 42 authorities without a plan in place to manage the resulting influx of migrants is irresponsible and could create crisis conditions that would be dangerous for both migrants coming to America and Americans themselves. Title 42 cannot remain in place permanently, but President Biden must ensure that DHS and its personnel, facilities, and processes are ready before rolling it back. This bipartisan legislation would ensure he does so.”
“By simply doing away with Title 42, this Administration is pulling the rug out from under our Border Patrol agents and the communities they work to protect,” said Congressman Gonzales. “We are seeing thousands of migrants who are waiting to cross the border once Title 42 is rolled back. This massive number of expected crossings – on top of already historic apprehensions – will further strain the limited resources of our local communities, law enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). To ensure a proper roll-back of Title 42, it’s crucial that this White House works hand-in-hand with local, state, and federal stakeholders to establish an orderly process at our southern border.”
“I have long called for comprehensive immigration reform—investments in 21st century border technology, protections for DREAMers, and policies that ensure the safety of families on both sides of our southern border,” said Congressman O’Halleran. “That is why I’m joining a bipartisan group to introduce a bill that prevents the Biden Administration from rolling back Title 42 until a concrete plan to deal with the consequences to border communities is proposed and approved. Any changes to the current system must be robustly detailed and developed in consultation with local leaders, community advocates, and governmental entities in border states like Arizona. In requiring this concrete plan, we’re working to create a transparent process that will better ensure the health, safety, and humane treatment of kids and families on both sides of our southern border.”
“President Biden has botched the border crisis our country faces,” said Congressman Pfluger. “Now, his administration is rescinding Title 42—one of the few effective policies that allowed Border Patrol officers to turn illegal migrants away during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Incentivizing an unmanageable surge of illegal migration to our southern border while our Border Patrol officers and border states lack adequate resources is unacceptable. I am proud to join this bipartisan, bicameral effort to block the President from rescinding Title 42.”
“Public health and public safety, not politics, should drive the federal government’s decision on when to end Title 42,” said Congresswoman Murphy. “As an immigrant and refugee who empathizes with individuals and families seeking protection in America from persecution in their native country, I believe Title 42 should only be lifted once we have a comprehensive and properly-resourced plan in place that treats asylum seekers with decency and humanity, protects our communities, is consistent with American values, and does not compromise our national security.”
“The administration should not revoke Title 42 without developing the plans needed to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “The administration should be taking into account all possible impacts as they review their policies, and they should also provide Congress with a more definitive plan for how any changes will be implemented after the public health emergency and the national emergency are formally rescinded. This bipartisan legislation insists on a stronger, more workable approach to the situation at our border, and I appreciate that a growing number of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are focusing on this critical issue.”
“This is a bipartisan, common-sense solution to protect our border and keep communities safe while there is an emergency health declaration,” said Congressman Bacon, retired Air Force Brigadier General. “When COVID-19 hit, Title 42 was intended to help control the spread of the virus. It is only logical that we keep it until the end of the pandemic. Further, we have seen the worst border crisis in 20 years, and rescinding Title 42 will exacerbate the current situation.”
“This Administration has yet to put forth a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to secure our border and ensure an efficient, humane immigration process,” said Congressman Stanton. “Lifting Title 42 without a plan in place risks the health and safety of both Arizona communities and migrants. Our bill will ensure that the federal government has time to prepare in consultation with impacted Arizona communities, law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations.”
“We are a nation of laws and that must also include enforcing smart and effective border and immigration policies,” said Congresswoman Salazar. “I am glad to join this bipartisan group of legislators who understand that we must prioritize safety and order to avoid more chaos on our border by having a serious plan in place if we remove Title 42”
The bill would prohibit the Biden Administration from ending Title 42 until 60 days after formally ending the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. Within 30 days of ending the public health emergency, the President must submit a plan to process the migrant surge to Congress.
Title 42 is a provision of the Public Health Service Act of 1944. In March 2020, the Trump Administration invoked Title 42 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, preventing migrants presenting themselves at the border for asylum from remaining in the country while their cases were processed. The Biden Administration had largely continued the Trump Administration’s policy, but announced that it will begin rolling back the policy next month.
The full bill text can be found here.