Biden quietly rolls back border COVID protections

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Shortly after the pandemic began, President Trump invoked Title 42 of the United States Code Section 265, allowing border control officials to expel persons who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present. While exceptions were granted where testing was possible, this policy has allowed the Border Patrol to largely turn away most single, adult migrants who attempted to cross illegally without needing to go through the immigration courts. This week, with little public debate, the White House will essentially reverse Title 42 without explicitly doing so. And exemption intended for migrants with daunting extenuating circumstances such as severe political repression or humanitarian concerns will now be broadly expanded to allow virtually anyone interviewed by the agents to be admitted. And the COVID outbreak in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries no longer seems to be a concern. (Free Beacon)

The Biden administration is preparing to gut COVID-19 safety restrictions on illegal immigrants and asylum seekers and essentially reverse the Trump administration’s pandemic health protections without public notice, according to documents circulating within U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While the Trump administration took a hardline approach to turning away immigrants to avoid “a serious danger of introduction of [a communicable] disease,” at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Customs and Border Protection is now quietly walking much of that guidance back. A May memo, reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon, highlighted a potential work-around of the safety measures. The memo, authored by senior staff at CBP, emphasizes the ability of “customs officers [to] determine [who] should be allowed into the United States.”

Customs and Border Protection officials say the Biden administration is looking to liberally interpret that provision, which was initially meant for migrants with extenuating circumstances related to humanitarian concerns or political repression. Broadening the humanitarian exemption would constitute a de facto reversal of the Trump administration’s guidance on limiting migration into the country. The shift in policy would come as border patrol agents encountered 178,622 migrants in April, among the highest-trafficked months on record.

The basis for originally invoking Title 42 was obviously the COVID pandemic. And while the total number of cases in Mexico has thankfully been dropping over the past several weeks, they are nowhere near as far along in vaccinations as the United States. The CDC still rates Mexico as a level 4 country, the highest danger level on their scale. Their current guidance is summed up nicely in one sentence. “Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.”

Things may be returning to some semblance of normalcy in the United States, but the situation is clearly far from being under control on the other side of our southern border. What is the justification for the Biden administration to suddenly take such a laissez-faire attitude toward migrants coming into the United States when the CDC is telling all of us to avoid crossing in the other direction? What happened to following the science?

Open Borders Joe has been gutting our ability to control our southern border since literally the first hours after he was sworn into office. Activists opposed to any form of border control or the enforcement of federal immigration laws have a loud voice in the Biden White House and this is just the next phase of the plan. It’s worth noting that this latest move is actually a reversal of policy in all but its name for Joe Biden. In March, he announced that keeping Title 42 in place was still a requirement. That led immigration activists to publicly condemn Biden for continuing a “cruel Trump policy.”

Apparently the message made it through to the Oval Office. Not wanting to look like he was doing a complete about-face to satisfy his liberal detractors, Joe Biden is technically leaving Title 42 in place but granting exemptions to essentially anyone who asks. This isn’t a good look for our nation when it comes to either controlling our borders or guarding against a COVID resurgence from a country where plenty of virus variants have been identified. It’s obvious at this point that we’re following the politics rather than the science.