House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday accused President Biden of having “abdicated his responsibilities” at the southern border and making the ongoing migrant crisis worse after the administration announced that it is lifting the Title 42 public health order.
“Today’s decision confirms that President Biden has abdicated his responsibilities at our borders and is actively working to make the border crisis worse,” McCarthy said in a statement. “From day one of his administration, he has failed to protect our nation’s security and to secure the border.”
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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday announced that it will be terminating the Title 42 public health policy, that has been used by both the Trump and Biden administrations to quickly expel migrants at the southern border since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, on May 23.
“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the agency said in a statement.
The order was implemented by the Trump administration due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and has since been used by both the Trump and Biden administrations to expel a majority of migrants at the border. While it is a public health order, not an immigration policy, it has become one of the central border policies in place as the U.S. faces record numbers of illegal border crossings. In February, approximately 55% of migrants were returned due to the order, rather than being released into the U.S.
Activists and left-wing Democrats have been calling for the Biden administration to end the order for months, claiming it is cruel and denied migrants due process.
But Republican and moderate Democratic lawmakers, as well as law enforcement at the border, have expressed concern that it could lead to a spike in migration that could overwhelm agents and exceed the enormous numbers seen last year.
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“This decision is wrong and will invite a lawless surge of illegal border crossings to enrich human traffickers and overwhelm our Border Patrol,” McCarthy said. This will inflict suffering, pain, and tragedy throughout our country.”
“Make no mistake, the President will own the calamity his policies have created,” he added.
The fear about an increase in migrants has been acknowledged by the administration, and it has said it is increasing resources to the border as part of a strategy to deal with what it has said will be an “influx” of migrants.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday claimed that DHS has “put in place a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to manage any potential increase in the number of migrants encountered at our border.”
Border Patrol agents, however, have been more blunt in their assessment: “We are expecting to get wrecked,” one agent told Fox News Digital.
Fox News’ Peter Hasson contributed to this report.