The White House on Monday stressed that the southern border is not open, despite the end of the Title 42 immigration policy expected in coming days.
The Trump-era border management policy is expected to be repealed on Wednesday following a ruling from a federal judge. The policy had allowed officials to block migrants from seeking asylum claims in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the public health emergency. Its ending has spurred fears of a worsening crisis.
“The fact that the removal of Title 42 is happening in just a day or two doesn’t mean that the border’s open,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, adding that the U.S. will move to Title 8, which is the regular order that allows asylum applications.
“It would be wrong to think that the border is open. It is not open, and I just want to be very, very clear about that,” she added.
The White House is asking Congress for $3.5 billion in funding to help with the situation at the southern border.
Jean-Pierre said that Republicans should grant the funding if they care about the crisis, arguing that “if they truly, truly, want to assist instead of doing political ploys like they have been in several months … they will adhere to the funding request.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Sunday that he believes Biden will ask for an extension of Title 42 after he joined a bipartisan letter asking Biden to extend the policy. When asked about Manchin’s comments, Jean-Pierre said the White House intends to comply with the court order.
The White House laid out in a graphic at the briefing on Monday to demonstrate why it believes congressional Republicans need to provide the funds, including to hire 300 additional Border Patrol agents and put up additional Border Patrol holding facilities.
Additionally, the White House wants Congress to give the funds to accelerate processing times so individuals can have their asylum claims heard faster, to upgrade surveillance and inspection technologies, and to increase support for border towns like El Paso. The administration also wants to add air and ground transportation capabilities for processing and enforcement.
The White House has increasingly been pressed on if Biden will visit the U.S.-Mexico border amid the migrant crisis. Jean-Pierre on Monday would not say if the president will visit but said that Republicans should “assist” by allowing more funding if they are “serious about the challenges we are seeing at the border.”
Source: The Hill