President Joe Biden last week announced that he would erase COVID-based barriers that prevented tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from crossing America’s southern border.
The lid, such as it was, was rooted in Title 42 of the federal legal code. Citing the pandemic, the rule allowed the Border Patrol to boot out anyone caught crossing illegally without a hearing.
“For Biden, Title 42 has been a convenient substitute for real border enforcement using immigration laws, which he would rather not use,” Jessica Vaugh, director of policy studies for the right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies, wrote on Friday.
Now, Vaughn added, Biden is under some pressure “to come up with a plan to deal with the tsunami of new illegal border crossers from around the globe who reportedly are already flocking to Mexico in anticipation of even more lenient catch-and-release rules,” Vaughn noted.
She predicted Biden will talk tough. But since “the word is out across the globe that Biden is unlikely to send anyone home,” Vaughn added, “the administration will do its best to whisk the migrants through.”
“They must know that this will be unpopular, but they believe that they have nothing to lose. They are betting that even if the Republicans have control of one or both houses of Congress next year, it will be too hard to deport the millions of new arrivals, or block legal status for them, and when their party regains control, they can give then green cards and cultivate a new generation of loyal Democratic voters.”
Rubio’s camp on Monday issued a press release noting that Demings, who seeks to challenge Rubio in November’s election, was among five Democrats who in February 2021 signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas demanding an end to the Title 42 blockade.
The Democrats claimed that the Trump administration had “misused” Title 42’s provisions to halt people seeking asylum.
At the time of the letter, nearly 500,000 Americans had died of the coronavirus and the deadly delta wave was just over the horizon. Yet Democrats wanted to throw open the door, so to speak.
“In many cases these deportees are families and children who likely pose no security threat. The Trump administration misused Title 42 to summarily expel hundreds of thousands of migrants while denying them due process and access to the asylum system in contravention of international legal obligations,” the letter said.
“The Biden administration need not and should not leave this to the courts. You have the power to halt these expulsions by repealing the Title 42 order, and you should use it as soon as practicable.”
“Expulsions under Title 42 actually endanger public health, including the health of enforcement officers and migrants. Many migrants are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 while being detained in the United States pending their expulsion or deportation to less-resourced countries with severely strained health systems.”
For readers who didn’t follow, that means the Democrats were worried about the “public health” in other countries, where the migrants might be sent, rather than that of Americans.
By endorsing the letter, Demings, who is attempting to bill herself as a moderate in her increasingly radical party, aligned herself with the Democrats’ most left-wing elements.
The letter-signers included “The Squad” – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley – as well as those who are Squad-adjacent, such as Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush and Raúl Grijalva.
“Demings has vigorously opposed efforts to help Border Patrol secure the border,” Rubio’s campaign said in a statement. “Just last month, Demings voted for a funding bill that provided ‘no funding for additional immigration enforcement personnel’ or for new border wall construction.”
Rubio’s team asserted Demings regularly votes in favor of the Democrats’ “radical illegal immigration agenda,” which advocates allowing illegal immigrants to vote, sanctuary cities, and a pathway to citizenship for gang members and sexual abusers.
“Val Demings’ support of ending Title 42 is no surprise when you look at her record of opposing border security,” said Elizabeth Gregory, communications director for Rubio’s re-election campaign.
“Demings’ refusal to treat the border crisis with the gravity it deserves proves she’ll side with Democratic leadership over the wellbeing of Floridians every time.”