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The Overview Published: May 23, 2022

Comer in Washington Examiner: Terminating Title 42 Would Turn Biden’s Border Crisis into a Catastrophe

WASHINGTON — In an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) outlined how President Biden’s radical open borders policies created a crisis at the southern border and the Biden Administration’s attempt to terminate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 order would turn the border crisis into a catastrophe. In April, Ranking Member Comer led several Oversight Committee Republican colleagues on a trip to the southern border to witness the border crisis firsthand. Federal and local law enforcement officers told the Republican lawmakers that ending Title 42 expulsions would push an already overwhelmed system over the edge. Ranking Member calls on the Biden Administration to maintain Title 42, fully reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, end catch and release, and finish the border wall to stem the flow of illegal migrants, stem the flow of illicit drugs, and protect all people.

President Joe Biden and his administration’s intentional, unprecedented open borders policies have ignited a crisis at the southern border.

Since Day One of assuming office, Biden has halted the construction of the border wall, tried to put a 100-day freeze on criminal and illegal immigrant deportations, proposed blanket amnesty, resorted to catch-and-release tactics, and ended the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Given these actions, it shouldn’t be a surprise that under Biden’s watch there have been more than 2.5 million apprehensions of immigrants who crossed the southern border illegally while deadly drugs continue to flow into U.S. communities.

Biden’s self-inflicted border crisis is wreaking havoc across this country, and the public wants solutions.

But Biden and his administration’s only plan is to make the border crisis worse by attempting to end Title 42 expulsions. Thankfully, a federal court temporarily halted Biden’s decision to end Title 42 expulsions on Friday.

Biden and Democrats never met a COVID-19 mandate they didn’t like — except for Title 42. The Biden administration is still trying to force people to wear masks on planes, but it is apparently fine with COVID-19-positive illegal immigrants coming to the United States.

Initially implemented under former President Donald Trump, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 order allows law enforcement to expel illegal migrants on public health grounds. This protects our hardworking Border Patrol agents and helps keep ports of entry open for legal travel and trade. As of March, officials had carried out more than 1.7 million expulsions under the Title 42 public health order.

Make no mistake, ending Title 42 will escalate this crisis.

I recently spearheaded a trip with House Oversight Committee Republican colleagues to the southern border and saw this deteriorating situation firsthand. Right now, Border Patrol stations are already severely overcrowded. During our visit to the Border Patrol station in Yuma, Arizona, with a normal capacity of 1,400, agents told us they had 3,100 men, women, and children in custody. They informed us that due to the pandemic, the facility shouldn’t safely exceed more than 700 in custody.

Now imagine what happens when Title 42 is lifted and word spreads that illegal immigrants are quickly released into the U.S.

Biden administration officials are telling people to prepare for an even greater border surge, warning there could be up to 18,000 apprehensions every single day. Our dedicated Border Patrol agents didn’t sign up for this.

There is no doubt that human smugglers, drug cartels, and terrorists will exploit this crisis, which will turn the border crisis into a national security and humanitarian catastrophe. The radical open-borders policies perpetuated by this administration are reckless.

The Biden administration appears to be exploiting the crisis to reward political allies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials bypassed ordinary procedures to award a no-bid $87 million contract to a nonprofit organization to reserve hotels to process the surge of illegal immigrant families, according to a recent inspector general report.

The issue? The contractor had no prior experience, and an employee is tied to the Biden-Harris transition team. Even worse, many hotel rooms were left empty by ICE, resulting in at least $17 million in taxpayer money wasted.

It’s time for Congress to get serious about this crisis. Republicans are holding the Biden administration accountable.

Oversight Committee Republicans recently called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to provide his plan to respond to the impending surge in illegal immigration when Title 42 expulsions end. We’ve also called on Oversight Committee Democrats to hold a hearing on Biden’s border crisis five times.

If you’re hoping Democrats finally conduct meaningful oversight, though, don’t hold your breath. There is a reason Democrats received an F in oversight by a nonpartisan organization this Congress.

The public deserves accountability and solutions, not silence from congressional Democrats and mismanagement from the Biden administration.

Biden should take immediate action to alleviate this crisis of his own making. Maintaining Title 42, fully reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols, ending catch and release, and finishing the border wall will stem the flow of illegal migrants, stem the flow of illicit drugs, and protect all people.