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Republicans react to sending 1,500 troops to border as Title 42 ends

The White House says Congress needs to pass immigration reform. Congressional Republicans say it is up to the White House to stop migrants.
Republicans react to sending 1,500 troops to border as Title 42 ends
Posted at 9:33 AM, May 04, 2023

There is broad agreement among lawmakers and experts that the U.S. is about to experience a surge in migrants. Barring a last-minute change, Title 42 will come to an end May 11, and officials are bracing for migrants who have been waiting at the border to enter the U.S. 

The pandemic-era rule put in place by then-President Donald Trump was intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the years since, asylum seekers have generally been required to wait in Mexico.

In preparation for the expiration of Title 42, the Biden administration announced the addition of 1,500 troops at the border. Given U.S. law prohibits the military from conducting law enforcement, the troops will mostly be on hand to do administrative tasks. Some Republicans, however, aren’t happy about this move. 

“This is a bad situation that is about to get much, much worse, and the answer is not 1,500 active-duty service members,”  Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at a news conference. “They didn’t join the military to go to the border and push paper and change diapers, but under the law, that’s all they can do.”

At a news conference, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., slammed the plan of sending troops to the border. 

“It is ridiculous theater,” Graham said. “It will not change the outcome. They’re not going to be there as soldiers turning people around. They’re not going to be there enforcing laws because of the Posse Comitatus Act … They are not doing anything to deter entry into the country.”

SEE MORE: US, Mexico announce immigration agreement as Title 42 approaches expiration

Homeland Security has said it has quickly removed several million asylum seekers due to the Title 42. If not for the rule, asylum seekers would be allowed to remain in the U.S. until given a court hearing to rule on the merits of their request.

The Biden administration said Title 42 needs to end as the federal COVID-19 emergency expires

The White House says that it is up to Congress to reform immigration laws.

“We're doing this without help, without assistance from Congress, Republicans in Congress in particular. And we're doing everything that we can to be prepared for once Title 42 lifts,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. 

SEE MORE: Retired Lt. Gen. Honore says 1,500 troops not enough at the border

The Biden administration has touted efforts such as increasing holding capacity and hiring 2,000 non-uniformed personnel to assist in processing.

But Republicans say that the only solution is to turn away asylum seekers at the border. But given current U.S. laws, once Title 42 ends, asylum seekers generally will have their case heard, which sometimes can take months. 

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