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Q: What is Title 42?


A: Title 42 refers to a section of U.S. immigration law that enables the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a public health order regulating the entry of people coming into the United States. During the previous administration, Title 42 was put in place on March 21, 2020 to help curb the spread of COVID-19. This allowed border patrol agents to block or expel migrants at the U.S. border for attempting to illegally enter the country and bypass health screening measures. Since then, Title 42 has been used nearly 3 million times to deport migrants illegally crossing the border, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And yet, since President Biden took office, more than five million migrants (including repeat encounters with law enforcement) have sought to cross the border without our permission. That’s two million more people than the entire population of Iowa. The historic surge stems from reckless messaging from the Biden administration, effectively misleading migrants that they would qualify for refuge under our asylum laws. In just the previous fiscal year, illegal border crossings exceeded 2.3 million, the most on record. Countless more migrants have evaded border patrol agents, disappearing into the interior of the United States. Because of the Biden administration’s open border policies, including halting construction of barriers along the southern border, the situation has escalated into a humanitarian crisis, chaos and crime. Most recently, the number of border encounters under the Biden administration continues to climb, reaching unprecedented levels that exceed 7,500 migrants daily. To put that in perspective, that would be like the populations of Clear Lake, Creston, Knoxville and Charles City crossing the southern border, day after day after day. Border communities and elsewhere are strapped to keep up with the influx of migrants, straining local law enforcement and social services.


Failing to faithfully execute our nation’s immigration laws and refusing to put the sovereignty of the United States first effectively give Mexican cartels a green light to exploit women and children and expand human and drug trafficking crime rings for financial gain. Don’t forget ground zero for illicit fentanyl production is south of our border. More than 70,000 Americans died from synthetic opioid overdose last year. Can you imagine if none of the fans returned home after a sold-out football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City? That’s how many people lost their lives to drug overdose last year in the United States.


Title 42 expired on May 11 when the COVID-19 public health emergency ended. With this policy lifted, the Biden administration expects an unprecedented migrant surge and admits the border will be even more “chaotic.” The president of the United States effectively is telling taxpayers and border communities to buckle up. Things are going to get even worse.


Q: What can Congress do to stem the surge of illegal border crossings?


A: I’ve teamed up with Sen. Joni Ernst to restore commonsense and beef up security at our porous southern border. In the absence of leadership from the White House to faithfully execute and enforce the nation’s immigration laws during the first two years of the Biden administration, we’ve experienced a historic and unprecedented surge of illegal immigration since President Biden took office. Our BUILD IT Act would require the federal government to transfer any material associated with the construction of a barrier along our southern border to states who request it so that they may complete the job the Biden administration has abandoned. I visited the southern border in 2021 and heard first-hand from border patrol agents that they advised the incoming Biden administration not to rescind policies that helped stem the flow of illegal border crossings. The Biden administration ignored the advice and for the last two years pushed open border policies that have led to chaos and confusion, creating a humanitarian crisis that puts vulnerable people into harm’s way, including the public safety of law-abiding Americans. As members of Congress, it’s our constitutional responsibility to uphold the sovereignty of the United States. By definition, that means protecting our borders.

Author: Charles Grassley

Chuck Grassley of New Hartford has represented Iowa in the United States Senate since 1980.


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