WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control says it's ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The use of public health powers has been widely criticized by Democrats and immigration advocates as an excuse for the United States to shirk its obligations to provide haven to people fleeing persecution.
The policy will end on paper April 1, but it will not take effect until May 23, to allow border officials time to prepare.
The decision is expected to draw more migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Governor Doug Ducey said after the announcement:
“In Arizona, our brave law enforcement professionals are working hard to protect border communities, all Arizonans and migrants. Yet the worst border crisis in over 20 years continues to receive no attention from the federal government. The Biden administration and Congress have turned a blind eye to our southern border for over a year now, and it’s devastating our communities.
“Title 42 is one of the last measures still in place that helps our border agents do their jobs — and it’s only still in effect because of the advocacy of border governors like Governor Abbott and myself. President Biden is now trying to repeal it to make a political statement.
“Title 42 allows federal officials to prohibit the entry of those who potentially pose a health risk. Even as we emerge out of the pandemic, this is a no-brainer policy that protects the health and well-being of American citizens. The removal of Title 42 will cause considerable harm to Arizona’s border communities, our state and our entire country.
“Customs and Border Protection since October 1, 2021 has encountered over 830,000 migrants — more than double the number at this time last year, and four times the number two years ago.
“Arizona has taken proactive measures to mitigate the crisis at the border and protect our state. We deployed the National Guard and invested $55 million toward that support mission, and this year’s budget proposes an additional $50 million in the Border Security Fund. Local law enforcement officials like Sheriff Mark Dannels, Sheriff Leon Wilmot and their teams have also worked around the clock to maintain law and order and keep our neighborhoods safe.
“It’s the federal government’s job to secure our border. Yet President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary Mayorkas have paid no mind to this crisis, and now they want to pour gasoline on the fire by lifting Title 42.
“What’s happening at the southern border is a national security crisis, a public safety crisis and a humanitarian crisis. The safety of our nation depends on effective policies like Title 42. Lifting it will severely impact our country, and the Biden administration must keep it in place.”