Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), as a relatively moderate Democrat from a rather conservative state, has emerged as arguably the biggest obstacle in the way of the progressive agenda of President Joe Biden’s administration, and that role was further cemented this week.
Multiple outlets have reported that Biden intends to end in May the Title 42 public health order that allows for the immediate expulsion of migrants at the southern border, and Manchin has made his opposition to that decision abundantly clear, The Daily Caller reported.
Title 42 originated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was first implemented as a policy in March 2020 by then-President Donald Trump as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19 as well as to help secure the porous southern border.
Now is not the time to end Title 42, Manchin says
On Tuesday, Sen. Manchin issued a press release sharing a letter he had sent to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urging her to refrain from canceling the Title 42 policy in light of its success in both addressing the spread of disease as well as the record number of migrants arriving at the nation’s southern border.
The West Virginia senator was asked by reporters about his opposition to the reported impending demise of the policy and, according to Politico reporter Burgess Everett, Manchin said of the Biden administration, “They should reconsider. I’m against removing title 42. If anything we’d be looking at permanency for title 42. Maybe that would spur us to get a good immigration policy that works for the borders. The borders have to be secure.”
According to CNN’s Manu Raju, when asked specifically why he opposed ending Title 42, the senator replied, “Oh my goodness. Just watch the news y’all put out every day, what’s coming across.”
Sen. Manchin wasn’t finished voicing his opposition, though, and released a statement Friday decrying the “frightening decision” by Biden’s team to end the policy on May 23 once that date had been confirmed.
Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border. We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place.
Arizona Sen. Sinema also strongly opposed to the ending of Title 42
Interestingly enough, Sen. Manchin is not alone among relatively moderate Democrats in speaking out against the White House plan to end Title 42 in less than two months, as he was joined in doing so by both of the Democratic senators from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, and Mark Kelly.
On Wednesday, Sinema and Kelly jointly urged both President Biden and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas to refrain from ending the policy unless a replacement plan was put in place as, according to Sinema, “Ending Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place puts at risk the health and safety of migrants and Arizona communities.”
Sinema on Thursday also issued a joint statement with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that called upon the administration to fully cooperate and communicate with Arizona and Texas leaders and law enforcement before proceeding with an end to the Title 42 policy.
“We are concerned that DHS has not adequately prepared and developed a plan to ensure the safety of migrants, officers, and our communities post-Title 42. To date, we have not seen sufficient steps to avoid a humanitarian and security crisis,” the bipartisan duo said. “Consistent coordination and communication with State and local governments along the border, including small communities, is one necessary element in a successful strategy to secure the border, protect border communities, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely.”