FIRST ON FOX: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Friday wrote to President Biden urging him to reverse a reported plan to rollback Title 42 public health protections that allow for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border after figures show there were nearly 190,000 attempted crossings in June alone.
"It would be unacceptable and dangerous to end this policy, particularly as our country deals with the worst border crisis in 20 years," Brnovich said in a letter to Biden.
He pointed to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures showing that 188,829 migrants were encountered at the southern border in June, a 5% rise overall from May and that included a 25% increase in encounters of family units.
"If you rescind this effective policy, illegal crossings and human and drug smuggling will only further explode," he said.
The Trump administration enacted Title 42 public health protections in March 2020 in response to the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants, often within minutes and without detention, at the border.
The Biden administration has kept the authority in place, despite pressure and legal action from liberal activists, although it has refused to apply it to unaccompanied children. Additionally, it has not been applying it to some migrant families, due to Mexico’s refusal to take back families with children under seven.
According to CBP’s statistics, just over 8,000 family units were expelled via Title 42 out of the more than 55,000 family unit encounters. Overall, 104,907 of the 188,829 encounters led to Title 42 expulsions.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said the agency is listening to the experts and the decision on when to repeal it for migrant families and single adults. But Axios reported that the administration is planning to end Title 42 for migrant families as early as the end of the month. The New York Times reported that Title 42 could also be lifted for single adults in the summer.
Republicans and Trump-era officials have warned that ending Title 42 could lead to a dramatic surge at the border, and have health consequences as well, given the state of COVID and vaccination rates in other countries.
"If Title 42 goes away, the number one issue that the Border Patrol see is we're going to have an astronomical increase of people coming at the border," Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a press conference this week with other Republicans urging against a Title 42 repeal. "And this time they won't be turned back. They'll be released into the countries in epic numbers."
Brnovich said that ending Title 42 would undermine the administration’s public health rationale.
"For months, you have been telling the American people to not gather in large groups unless they are vaccinated and wearing masks," he wrote. "Yet you are allowing mass groups of migrants to cross our border and gather in congregate care facilities, many of whom originate from Central American countries lacking adequate COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs."
Brnovich is one of a number of Republican attorneys general who has been ramping up the pressure on the Biden administration’s policies. His state has been part of a number of lawsuits seeking to reverse Biden policies such as narrower interior enforcement and ending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
On Friday, a Texas judge shut down new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) approvals, ruling in response to a lawsuit from Texas that the 2012 Obama-era program was unlawful.