WASHINGTON, DC (WOWK) — Senate Republicans gathered Wednesday to address illegal immigration and condemn the Biden Administration’s plan to lift Title 42.
Speakers fully pointed the finger at the Biden Administration, calling illegal immigration a “Biden border crisis,” “policy insanity” and a “disaster caused by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
According to Senate Republicans, illegal immigration is the worst it has been in 61 years. Republicans said 2 million illegal crossings happened last year and 221,303 illegal crossings occurred with 66,000 “got aways” just last month. GOP lawmakers also said lifting Title 42 will make illegal immigration two times worse with 18,000 illegal crossings a day.
Title 42 was launched by former president Donald Trump to allow the U.S. to block foreign migrants from coming into the country during a public health crisis, which includes the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said West Virginia is particularly concerned about illegal immigration because the state has the highest percentage of overdose deaths in the country. Sen. Capito said a large number of those deaths occur from fentanyl coming from the southern border.
“My folks at home are very concerned about this,” Capito said. “Why would somebody in West Virginia be worried about this? Because we have the highest percentage of deaths from overdose, per capita, than any other state in the union. Fentanyl is killing our friends and neighbors, and it’s all coming through the southern borders.”
Many Democrats are already saying they don’t want Biden to suspend the ban, with illegal drugs highlighted as a big concern and the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.
“42 should not be done away with until we get an immigration policy or until the CDC basically says we do not have a health crisis,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Sen. Capito said the Biden Administration needs to rethink, find a better way, and implement deterrents before a catastrophe happens. She also asked her Democrat colleagues to encourage President Joe Biden to reconsider lifting Title 42.
“The plan needs to be deterrents, whether it’s expedited removals, quick asylum, adjudication to get that, the Remain in Mexico policy,” Sen. Capito said. “We have some solutions here that worked under the Trump Administration to keep those numbers down. It’s time now to look seriously at these before this catastrophe descends upon us.”
The Biden administration believes that a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases and the wide availability to vaccinate people at the border justifies repealing the Title 42 immigration ban, and it plans to do just that on May 23, despite the opposition.