Sen. Ted Cruz and several other prominent GOP senators introduced legislation Tuesday to codify a Trump-era provision that allows border officials to rapidly expel migrants who illegally cross the border.
Dubbed the “Securing the Homeland from International Entrants with Life-threatening Diseases,” or SHIELD Act, the bill would extend Title 42 public health protections first enacted in March 2020. The provision allows authorities to turn away migrants in the interest of public health due to the potential spread of COVID-19.
“Title 42 has been an integral and extremely successful measure to protect America’s borders and our people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cruz said. “If the Biden-Harris policy for open borders is intended to reverse the Trump Administration’s success in securing our border, encourage illegal immigration, and create an unprecedented crisis, it’s certainly working.”
The Biden administration is considering a phase-out of the Trump-era policy, which critics have argued is cruel and inhumane. The White House could end use of Title 42 expulsions by as soon as July 31, Axios reported last month.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS WARN BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AGAINST ‘DISASTROUS’ MOVE TO END TITLE 42 MIGRANT EXPULSIONS
Cruz’s co-sponsors on the bill include Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., is introducing a similar bill in the House.
Republicans have been critical of Biden’s handling of the crisis, arguing his decision to loosen immigration restrictions has exacerbated the situation and created unsafe conditions at the border.
“As we come out of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we need to continue securing our borders, not throwing open flood gates to people who could carry the deadly virus or its dangerous new variants,” Cruz added.
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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 180,034 migrants attempting to cross the southern border in May. Of that total, 112,302 individuals were immediately expelled under Title 42.
Last week, former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan warned of “catastrophic” consequences if Biden overturns the provision.