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Federal judge keeps Title 42 in place

Posted at 6:48 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 21:48:50-04

PHOENIX — A federal judge did not issue an immediate ruling on whether the Biden Administration can lift COVID restrictions which prevent immigrants from requesting asylum in the U.S.

The judge promised to do so before the May 23, the date Title 42 is set to expire.

Both Arizona senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly say the plan announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is not workable.

Senator Sinema told members of her Veterans Advisory Council Friday whether it's the courts, Congress or both, Title 42 is not going away anytime soon.

"We're not sure when Title 42 is ended. It's not going to be May 23. It's not going to happen," Sinema said.

Along the Arizona border, there are no visible signs the Biden Administration is preparing for the end of Title 42.

Border Patrol has turned away hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers who have shown up along the southwest border since the Trump Administration enacted Title 42.

"We're still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and if we still have a national emergency around this pandemic, then it should apply to the border as well as to the interior," Sinema said.

Senator Sinema has co-sponsored legislation with Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford which says Title 42 remains in place until 60 days after the Surgeon General ends the Public Health Emergency.

Senator Mark Kelly is also co-sponsoring legislation with Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman which keeps Title 42 in place until there's a plan Congress agrees will work.

"It's just a big mess," Senator Kelly said. "My analysis of this is it will result in chaos on top of a crisis."

Kelly doesn't believe the administration's handling of Title 42 will hurt him or other Democrats running in November.

"I'm a voter, right? And I just don't think the federal government has done an adequate — I mean it's been a rather poor job on this issue for decades," Senator Kelly said.

The Sinema/Lankford bill is tied to a $10.2 billion COVID aid package. The money will go to the purchase of more therapeutics, vaccines and research.

Sinema told the veterans she expects the legislation will be on the President's desk soon.

"It's been stalled for a couple of weeks because some people don't like that that's going to happen. But it's going to happen," Sinema said.