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Border district Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar accused the Biden administration of ‘listening to immigration activists’ more than lawmakers and agents at the border.
The Texas lawmaker told Fox News Sunday that he has communicated to the White House that it should keep Title 42 in place until the public health emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted – at the earliest.
‘We told them but they said that they’re going to continue with lifting the title,’ he told host Sandra Smith.
‘But the thing is, yes, they’re listening to the immigration activists,’ Cuellar said in reference to the White House. ‘But my question is, who’s listening to the men and women in green and in blue? And more importantly, who’s listening to the border communities, the sheriffs, the landowners, the rest of the people that live on the border?’
‘I was in Roma, I was with a lot of people there, not only public officials but other folks – none of them said, ‘yes go ahead and lift Title 42,” he added. ‘None of them said ‘open up the border.”
‘They’re very concerned because they’re on the front line and they’re the ones that, I think, we need to listen to. We need to listen to the border communities,’ the lawmaker insisted.
Texas Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar accused the Biden administration of sending ‘mixed messages’ with ending Title 42 but keeping other COVID-related policies in place
Cuellar’s district includes hundreds of miles of southern border along the Rio Grande River separating Texas and Mexico – it also stretches into the state to include parts of San Antonio
‘Yes, they’re listening to the immigration activists. But my question is… who’s listening to the border communities, the sheriffs, the landowners, the rest of the people that live on the border?’ Cuellar questioned. ‘We need to listen to the border communities.’ Pictured: Asylum-seeking migrants from Haiti cross the Rio Bravo river into El Paso, Texas on Friday, April 22, 2022
Since Biden took office, more than 2.4 million migrants were apprehended by CBP. Last month hit a new high with 221,303 encounters in March alone
Cuellar’s district runs along the Rio Grande River from just west of McAllen, Texas up the western border hundreds of miles – it also encompasses parts of San Antonio and border towns of Loredo and Rio Grande City.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has the authority to activate Title 42, announced earlier this month that it would end the program on May 23.
The public health policy allows for immigration agencies to instantly deport migrants crossing into the U.S. without hearing their asylum claims. Under typical Title 8 in immigration code, if an individual crosses the border and expresses fear of returning to their home country, the lengthy asylum process immediately launches.
Bipartisan bills in Congress are trying to stop the administration from ending Title 42 before the public health emergency is lifted by the White House.
‘How can you ask for international travelers to make sure … they’re vaccinated or even show their COVID-19 negative tests if they fly in?’ Cuellar questioned in his interview with Fox on Sunday morning.
‘How can we have the federal public emergency extended to July 15 and say there’s a pandemic going on in the United States, but at the border, everything’s fine and just let people into the United States?’ he continued.
‘Those are mixed messages.’
Massive influxes of migration are expected next month once Title 42 ends on May 23, 2022. Pictured: People scale fencing with a ladder on the Mexico side of the border in Tecate on Thursday, April 21, 2022 – then men use ropes to lower themselves down on the U.S. side of the wall
A Haitian asylum seeker crosses into the U.S. from Mexico to turn himself into Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas on Friday, April 22, 2022
The White House received immense pressure from immigration advocates to end Title 42 enforcement, despite the Biden administration upholding the Trump-era policy and even defending it in court during the last year-and-a-half.
Now that Biden’s team has announced an end, Republicans and some Democrats have expressed outrage over the move that will surely triple the current migration crisis at the southern border, according to internal estimates.
March saw the latest record-breaking number of apprehensions by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with 221,303 encounters last month alone. This was a number not seen for decades and broke the last high of 213,593 in July 2021.
Concerns are rising that the lifting of Title 42 is coinciding with the peak season of illegal immigration going into Spring and Summer months.
Since Biden took office in late January 2021, CBP has apprehended more than 2.4 million migrants crossing the southern border.
Some estimates predict that the current 8,000 per day migrant crossing could rise to 18,000 once Title 42 is lifted next month. And some groups warn that there are already hundreds of thousands of migrants within days of the border ready to cross once the policy is no longer being enforced.