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Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Tuesday became the latest Democratic lawmaker to oppose the Biden administration’s move to end the use of Title 42 to deport migrants at the border, warning that this prematurely endangers national security.
“I strongly oppose the administration’s decision to let Title 42 expire next month — which will only add pressure to our broken immigration system,” Tester said in a statement. “I urge [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas will provide a comprehensive plan to address the increased security needed when Title 42 expires.”
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The senator also sent a letter to Mayorkas, warning that “ending this policy without sufficient preparation risks undermining our national security.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced Friday that it will end Title 42, which has been used by the Biden and Trump administrations to quickly deport migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 23.
A growing number of Democrats have joined Republicans and border officials in warning against the move, warning that it could quickly lead to an increase in the number of migrants that authorities are ill-equipped to handle. The Biden administration itself has acknowledged that it expects a significant increase in numbers in the coming months.
The Montana senator said lifting the order “is expected to result in a significant increase in migration to the United States and put further strain on an already broken system.”
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“These issues not only affect the southern border, but also put more pressure on those working to secure the northern border,” he wrote.
While he says the emergency order cannot be in effect indefinitely, “we must not end this policy without sufficient preparation.”
Tester’s letter comes after Democratic lawmakers, including some in tight re-election races, urged caution over the end of Title 42 over fears of a border surge that could eclipse record numbers in the last year.
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Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., described the decision as a “frightening decision” while Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have both written and spoken with Mayorkas to express their concerns about his lifting without proper planning.
Sen. Maggie Hassan, DN.H., meanwhile, said the end of the order “will likely result in a surge of migrants that the administration doesn’t seem ready for.”