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Sen. Ted Cruz is leading a charge in the Senate to maintain a Trump-era policy that allowed for the swift expulsion of illegal immigrants at the border based on the potential threat to public health due to coronavirus, as new strains emerge.
In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the Title 42 expulsion order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the southern border, which the Biden administration has been reportedly considering ending.
The SHIELD act, which stands for “Securing the Homeland from International Entrants with Life-threatening Diseases,” would make permanent the ability of authorities to immediately turn away people attempting to enter the country and potentially spread the coronavirus.
Cruz (R-Texas) said, “Title 42 has been an integral and extremely successful measure to protect America’s borders and our people during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the Biden-Harris policy for open borders is intended to reverse the Trump Administration’s success in securing our border, encourage illegal immigration, and create an unprecedented crisis, it’s certainly working.”
The Senate bill comes as Democratic critics of the 2020 public health measure ramp up pressure on President Biden to reverse it with claims that illegal immigrants sent back to Mexico face daunting and violent prospects there.
According to Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), “We knew from the very beginning that the use of Title 42 was only about the Trump administration’s war on immigration, not about health or safety,” adding, “Unsubstantiated claims and unscientific justifications were used as grounds for cruelty against people born outside this country.”
Axios reported recently that the White House is considering ending the Title 42 expulsion program as early as the end of July, as part of its gradual unwinding of former President Donald Trump’s effort to curb the flow of migrants to the southern border.
Cruz insists, “As we come out of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we need to continue securing our borders, not throwing open floodgates to people who could carry the deadly virus or its dangerous new variants.”
In addition to Cruz, the Senate measure is co-sponsored by GOP Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee.
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