Obama Homeland Sec. says end of Title 42 border policy 'big news' in Central America, 'amplified by smugglers'

'It's not sustainable for the Border Patrol and ICE to be able to track these people,' Jeh Johnson said.

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Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama administration, said Thursday on "Morning Joe" he would have argued for pushing the end of Title 42 to July and that the lifting of the measure was "big news" in Central America. 

"Migration across the southern border is a very market sensitive phenomenon. It reacts sharply to news in Central America, Mexico, about perceived changes and enforcement policy. So, I am quite sure that the ending of Title 42 is big news right now in Central America. Amplified by the smugglers who make money off of this type of thing," Johnson said. 

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 16, 2021 file photo, A Texas Department of Public Safety officer in Del Rio, Texas directs a group of migrants who crossed the border and turned themselves in. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 16, 2021 file photo, A Texas Department of Public Safety officer in Del Rio, Texas directs a group of migrants who crossed the border and turned themselves in. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

DEM SENATORS SOUND ALARM OVER REPORTS BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WILL END TITLE 42 BORDER POLICY

"This isn't the best time to end it, is it?" MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked earlier in the segment about Title 42, which was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Trump administration and allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border. 

Johnson said he would have argued to push ending the provision to July because "its warmer and migration tends to slow down."

Co-host Willie Geist followed up and asked about the border numbers and what Johnson thinks needs to change. 

The former Department of Homeland Security Secretary said that he believes most Americans want Dreamers to be "given an opportunity to be accountable" and "get on the books," but also acknowledged a crisis at the southern border. 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security" in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security" in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2016.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

BORDER AGENTS BRACING FOR NEW MIGRANT WAVE IF TITLE 42 LIFTS: ‘WE'RE EXPECCTING TO GET WRECKED'

Johnson contended that most Americans want a secure border. He said Laredo, Texas, which is "85% Mexican-American," wants the U.S. border under control. "Numbers of 7000 a day, and the estimates now climb over 10 to 18 [thousand] possibly, are not sustainable," he said.

"They're not sustainable in the communities across the border that have to absorb this population, Catholic charities. It's not sustainable for the Border Patrol and ICE to be able to track these people, keep up with these people," he continued. "It's not sustainable politically for the Biden administration."

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. A California man was arrested in Iowa last week as he was traveling to Washington D.C., after he was found with a "hit list" featuring Biden, former presidents and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. A California man was arrested in Iowa last week as he was traveling to Washington D.C., after he was found with a "hit list" featuring Biden, former presidents and Dr. Anthony Fauci. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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The Biden administration announced on April 1 that it would be lifting Title 42 by the end of May. 

"After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary," the Centers for Disease Control said in a statement. 

A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday found that 56% of voters oppose the decision to lift the public health measure. Several Democratic senators also expressed concern over ending the policy without a comprehensive plan in place.