A majority of members from Texas caution against ending the measure out of concern that it will cause an overwhelming surge of illegal border crossings.
Led by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23), 22 total members of the delegation sent a letter to the secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, urging the administration to retain its Title 42 policy.
Title 42 was first implemented in March 2020 and has allowed agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expel aliens entering the country illegally to their country of last transit instead of detaining them in border facilities.
“We understand that this legal authority is temporary and tied to the COVID-19 public health emergency, but DHS appears unprepared to handle a likely unprecedented increase in apprehensions along the southwest border,” wrote the lawmakers.
While border apprehensions and expulsions drastically declined in the early months of the pandemic, the statistics have soared since the 2020 presidential election and President Biden’s inauguration.
In February, CBP reported nearly 100,000 encounters in Texas border patrol sectors alone.
They say that small border communities are unprepared to handle the influx of “migrant populations into their jurisdictions.”
“If the CDC were to rescind its Title 42 order at this time, Border Patrol facilities and local communities would be forced to absorb at least double the current number of migrants, likely with catastrophic results,” they wrote.
Notably, although 20 of the signatures on the letter were from Republican members of Congress, two Democrats also signed their support for the temporary continuation of Title 42: Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15).
Cuellar and Gonzalez are also members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), which sent a letter advocating the end of Title 42 on Tuesday, the same day Cornyn’s letter was sent.
Though several Texans are members of the Democratic caucus, only one representative signed the letter, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20).
“The previous administration initiated the Title 42 policy to deny asylum seekers their legal rights to due process and expel them immediately under the guise of the pandemic,” wrote the CHC.
“However, the CHC believes that Title 42 denies individuals the right to seek asylum and disproportionately impacts refugees fleeing persecution and violence from Latin American, African, and Caribbean countries, including LGBTQI+, Indigenous communities, and individuals less likely to be traveling with children.”
Besides the two letters, there is also an effort led by a Texas member in the U.S. House of Representatives to force a vote on legislation requiring the continuation of Title 42.
In April 2021, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) began collecting signatures on a discharge petition. If 218 members or more, a majority of the House, sign the petition, then the legislation can bypass the normal process where the measure would otherwise die.
To date, 206 members of Congress have signed the petition, including all Republican members from Texas.
But Cuellar and Gonzalez, the two members who joined the letter urging the Biden administration to keep the policy in place, have not signed the petition.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.