Hans Nichols and Jonathan Swan, Axios, April 19, 2022
President Biden’s inner circle has been discussing delaying the repeal of Title 42 border restrictions, now set to end May 23, according to a source with direct knowledge of the internal discussion.
Why it matters: The White House is looking for ways to buy time to avoid a massive influx of migrants that would add to already-historic border numbers. That already endangers Democratic incumbents in states that could decide the Senate majority in November.
- Biden officials recognize they’re in a jam: moderate Democrats are pounding on them to delay the repeal but doing so would inflame the party’s progressive base. That includes members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who are scheduled to meet with the president next Monday.
- A full reversal of the decision to end Title 42, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 1, is considered by Biden officials to be far less likely than a delay.
- Reversing the decision would effectively force the White House to overrule the CDC.
Between the lines: The CDC’s Title 42 order was first issued in March 2020 under former President Trump.
It used the pandemic as a reason for turning back migrants attempting to enter the U.S., without the chance to seek asylum.
Driving the news: The White House has faced unprecedented blowback from vulnerable House and Senate Democrats.
They’ve publicly — and loudly — questioned if the administration has an adequate plan to process the influx of migrants repealing Title 42 is expected to trigger.
- Nine Senate Democrats, including Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, are urging Biden to reconsider his plan to end Title 42, Punchbowl News reported on Tuesday.
- Endangered Democrats are bluntly and publicly warning of a political disaster in the midterms. They’re pleading with the White House not to give Republicans an opportunity to paint Democrats as the party of open borders.
The other side: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus meeting next Monday will serve as a reminder for Biden that a crucial part of his party’s base will be bitterly disappointed if he reverses course and extends Title 42.
- “Asylum is a human right, and ending Title 42 is the right thing to do,” said. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.).