Senate Republicans accused President Biden of creating an “intentional” crisis at the US-Mexico border, citing the administration’s inaction on the issue despite record-breaking levels of illegal immigration.
Republican Senators led by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., highlighted the immigration crisis in a Wednesday press conference and urged the Biden administration to further extend its use of Title 42. Lankford noted that immigration surges in the 2010s amounted to roughly half a million illegal border crossings each year . Today, the US sees more than half a million border crossings every two months, Lankford said.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., soon took the podium and questioned Biden’s intentions from him.
“It is becoming harder and harder not to conclude that the border crisis is intentional. I mean, nobody is this incompetent, right?” Kennedy said. “The Biden administration’s position on Title 42, on the Remain in Mexico program … none of the president’s positions on this make any sense to me unless I view it from the perspective of, well, maybe he wants this to happen.”
“I confess it is a mystery to me. Nobody is this incompetent. It has to be intentional,” he added.
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Title 42 is a Trump-era public health order allowing border officials to deny asylum requests to the vast majority of those crossing the border, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to end the policy, but border officials have warned that doing so would exacerbate the already-unprecedented immigration crisis.
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Lankford argued Wednesday that ending Title 42 would turn a “crisis into a catastrophe.”
Many moderate Democrats are also beginning to sound the alarm, including Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, according to the Washington Post.
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“We have a crisis of the border. Everyone can see that,” Manchin told CBS News on Sunday. “I think everyone realizes that something has to be done. It needs to be extended until we can get really, truly immigration reform. Immigration reform will not happen in our country until we all come on both sides of the aisle.”
Republican-led states are hoping the Supreme Court will agree to keep Title 42 in place for the duration of litigation over the order. The Biden administration opposes this, but in a court filing this week they asked that Title 42 remain in effect until December 27 so they can get ready for it coming to an end.