White House ‘planning and preparing’ for Trump-era border policy to end in May

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said the White House is still planning for a May 23 end to the Trump-era policy that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border without giving them the chance to seek asylum.

“Right now, we are planning and preparing for the end of Title 42 enforcement on May 23,” Psaki said at a press briefing. “But I would say that there are a range — the president agrees that immigration in our country is broken. It’s a system that is broken.

“There are a range of ideas out there in Congress: Democrats, Republicans, others, some who support a delay of Title 42 implementation, some who strongly oppose it,” she continued. “And there are a range of other ideas of reforming our immigration system. This would all require congressional action. We’re happy to have that conversation with you.”

Axios reported on Tuesday that Biden advisers have discussed delaying the repeal of Title 42 amid pushback from members of both parties about the potential fallout at the border. Title 42 was enacted as a public health measure early on in the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Psaki on Wednesday repeatedly said it would be up to Congress to extend the policy, which was enacted during the coronavirus pandemic and has led to scores of migrants being turned away at the southern border.

“The CDC has the authority to determine when the conditions exist to lift Title 42. That was given to them by Congress,” Psaki said. “If Congress were to want to extend that, they’d need to take action. It’s not an executive authority from the White House.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month issued an order stating that public health conditions allowed for Title 42 to be lifted effective May 23.

But many Democrats on Capitol Hill, fearing a surge of migrants at the southern border this summer, are pressing Biden to delay the decision.

Even the president’s moderate allies such as Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) have joined the chorus of lawmakers urging the administration to reconsider.

Democratic aides on Monday suggested the administration should postpone the date for lifting the CDC order, which is now set for May 23, to give themselves more time to craft a plan to deal with an expected surge in migration.

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