While many leading Democrats, including both of Arizona’s U.S. senators, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, are upset with the Biden administration’s decision to end the Title 42 COVID-19 restrictions on U.S. borders, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs praised the decision. The Title 42 order, issued by the Centers for Disease Control in March 2020 under the Trump administration, has been used by Customs and Border Protection to prevent 1.7 million migrants from entering the country. They are either sent back to Mexico or on flights to other countries.
When asked by 3TV about the change and how it would affect border security, Hobbs said, “Title 42 should not be a substitute for that. As governor, I will work to, with the federal government, make sure that Arizonans are secure, they need to put more resources in securing the border. We need more resources to address the influx of migrants coming to the border.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich immediately sued the Biden administration after the announcement, along with the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana. Brnovich stated, “Arizona bears the substantial costs of incarcerating unauthorized migrants (amounting to tens of millions of dollars each year) as well as increased health-care costs for migrants infected with COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.”
The Department of Homeland Security and migrant advocates admit they are bracing for a huge surge when the restrictions end on May 23. DHS anticipates as many as 18,000 migrants a day crossing, while migrant advocates say the surge will be so large the government won’t be prepared to handle it. The number of migrants crossing the border increased sharply during the Biden administration despite the Title 42 restrictions. According to DHS, in February, 5,900 arrived daily at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, it increased to 7,100 daily.
The Biden administration justified its decision by saying COVID-19 had receded. However, the federal mask mandate is still in place on public transportation, the COVID-19 vaccine is still required in the military, and BA.2, the subvariant of the omicron strain of COVID-19, is surging worldwide.
Kelly issued a statement, “This is the wrong decision. It’s unacceptable to end Title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border.” Sinema added, “Prematurely ending Title 42 without a comprehensive, workable plan would put at risk the health and safety of Arizona communities and migrants. Today’s decision to announce an end to Title 42 despite not yet having a comprehensive plan ready shows a lack of understanding about the crisis at our border.”
Hobbs’ website has nothing about border security or migration. In contrast, Lake proposed a lengthy interstate compact to fix border security in January. Lake has a slight lead over Hobbs in a recent poll.
Hobbs has come under major criticism for firing a black staffer for racist and sexist reasons when she was a state legislator, resulting in a $2.5 million jury verdict for the former staffer. Hobbs admitted in December, “I know that in proceeding in her termination, I participated in furthering systemic racism.”
Last week, Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre to conduct a criminal investigation of Hobbs to determine whether she intentionally took down the electronic system used to collect online signatures for political candidates in order to sabotage Republican candidates.
Americans are growing increasingly concerned about illegal immigration. Over a third told Gallup pollsters in January they prefer less immigration, almost doubling from 19 percent in 2021. In contrast, only 14 percent want the levels kept the same and only 9 percent want more immigration. Only 29 percent of Democrats were unhappy with immigration levels a year after Trump took office; that has risen to 40 percent now.
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