Sens. Sinema, Kelly introduce bill to delay lifting of Title 42 border policy

Apr 7, 2022, 10:06 AM | Updated: 1:46 pm

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona. (Getty Images Photos)...

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, left, and Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona. (Getty Images Photos)

(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s two Democratic U.S. senators are part of a bipartisan group that introduced a bill Thursday to delay the Biden administration’s plan to lift the Title 42 border policy.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have been vocal in their opposition of Democratic President Joe Biden’s plan to end the Trump-era policy, which keeps asylum seekers from entering the U.S. and was enacted two years ago to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, federal officials said they would end the policy on May 23. The continued use of public health powers had been widely criticized by some Democrats and immigration advocates as an excuse for the United States to shirk its obligations to provide haven to people fleeing persecution.

The new bill would prevent Title 42 from being lifted until at least 60 days after the surgeon general ends the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. The Department of Homeland Security would also have to present a plan to Congress 30 days after the end of the emergency showing how it will handle the expected surge of migrants at the border after the policy change.

“Arizona communities bear the brunt of the federal government’s failure at our border, so we’re stepping in and protecting border communities by ensuring the administration works hand-in-hand with local leaders, law enforcement and nonprofits to put a comprehensive, workable plan in place before lifting Title 42,” Sinema, chair of the Border Management Subcommittee, said in a press release.

Sinema and Kelly joined fellow Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Jon Tester (Montana) and Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire) and Republicans James Lankford (Oklahoma), John Cornyn (Texas), Shelley Moore (West Virginia), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and John Thune (South Dakota) in introducing the bill.

Democratic Reps. Greg Stanton and Tom O’Halleran of Arizona are part of a bipartisan coalition that introduced a similar bill in the House.

“The Biden administration was wrong to set an end date for Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place,” Kelly said in the release.

“It’s why today we are introducing bipartisan legislation requiring this administration to implement a plan before lifting Title 42 that protects the public health and safety of our border communities and migrants.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sens. Sinema, Kelly introduce bill to delay lifting of Title 42 border policy