Dems Push Back on Biden Ending Trump’s COVID Asylum Exclusion at the Border

Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema issue joint statement expressing concerns about the plan.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Biden admin’s determination to end the Trump-era Title 42 public health order that bars those from countries where “a quarantinable communicable disease exists” from pursuing asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, has encountered criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, Newsweek reports.
  • Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema penned a joint statement voicing concerns that the plan was hasty and that the admin did not appear to have an adequate strategy established to respond to the change.
  • They also worried that such a move could strain border resources.
  • “Well, there’s no plan right now, and that’s a big concern of mine,” Kelly told Newsweek. “I’ve told the White House, ‘you don’t have a plan,’ and same thing with regards to the Secretary of Homeland Security.”
  • “So, it’s not something that should exist forever,” Kelly added. “It’s because of this public health crisis.”
WHAT OTHER DEMS ARE SAYING:
  • Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, whose district rests along the Mexico border, also worries that the Biden admin does not have a proper plan in place for dealing with a wave of immigrants that could follow such a policy shift.
  • His reason for doing so wasn’t about keeping asylum seekers out of the country, but that by keeping Title 42 in place the U.S. could deter migrants from making the dangerous journey north while also avoiding a strain on the resources available to border communities, Newsweek notes.
  • “We’re a compassionate, open-hearted community in South Texas and along the border,” Gonzalez told Newsweek. We just don’t have the resources of [the] federal government, fully stepping in to deal with another surge.”
  • “At the end of the day, it’s small towns and small communities along the border that pick up the tab,” he added, “and many times don’t get reimbursed for a long time.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Human rights organizations have reported women being raped during border crossings, parents with children being kidnapped, and individuals facing extortion by local gangs, according to Newsweek.
  • Since 2001, more than 52% of the more than 518,000 people who applied for asylum relief were denied, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.