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WASHINGTON EXAMINER: 'Grave Concern': Republicans press Biden for border crisis answers as clock ticks on Title 42

EXCLUSIVE — Several House Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to provide answers and transparency for how it plans to deal with the migrant crisis at the southern border as the White House is poised to terminate the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy any day now.

In a letter sent to the Biden administration on Wednesday and obtained by the Washington Examiner, 31 House Republicans are urging the president to address a number of concerns related to the termination of Title 42 before lifting the order. The immigration policy was set to expire on Wednesday but has since been extended by the Supreme Court after an emergency plea from 19 Republican-led states urging the court to keep the Trump-era policy.

“President Biden was fully prepared to deliver a heightened border crisis to the American people just in time for Christmas,” said Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who authored the letter. “Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the termination of Title 42, giving the Biden administration more time to adequately prepare a comprehensive plan as litigation proceeds. Yet the president is still determined to wreak havoc on the southern border — this time after the holiday weekend and as he enjoys a tropical vacation.”

The three-page letter sent to President Joe Biden on Wednesday specifically outlines six questions lawmakers want answered before Title 42 is lifted. Such questions include how the administration plans to address an expected influx of migrant crossings, how many immigrants have crossed the border with a communicable disease since January 2021, and how many unaccompanied children are at risk of human trafficking due to the surge in border crossings, among other things.

The letter cites at least 98 people on terrorist watchlists who have illegally crossed the southern border over the last fiscal year, pressing the Biden administration to answer how many more they “anticipate to cross … once Title 42 ends?”

“Given the Biden administration’s track record of abdicating its responsibilities and enabling mayhem through its open border agenda, I don’t believe the president is prepared for the possible end of Title 42 or has any intention of improving the situation at the southern border anytime soon,” Clyde said. “I look forward to fully investigating this matter, holding the Biden administration accountable, and advancing policies to secure the border under a House Republican majority next year.”

Title 42 was enacted in 2020 under the Trump administration in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the public health order, border agents were permitted to expel immigrants immediately upon encountering them.

Border Patrol agents made a record-breaking 2.3 million immigrant encounters during the 2022 fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs Border and Protection. But that number is expected to be even higher over the next fiscal year, especially if Title 42 is lifted.

The Department of Justice is still seeking to uphold lower court rulings that held the Biden administration could eliminate the policy but is now asking for a delay in the program's end, saying it should remain in place until Dec. 27 if the Supreme Court decides the Title 42 case before Friday.

If a ruling comes after Friday, the Biden administration is asking to keep Title 42 in place for two additional days — putting the expiration after Christmas.

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