Dem Senator Menendez: Title 42 Is ‘Part Of The Problem’
US Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks during a hearing on "Review of the FY2023 State Department Budget Request," in Washington, DC, on April 26, 2022.
AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said that Title 42 is “part of the problem” when it comes to enforcing immigration law at the southern border.

During an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Menendez said that Title 42 does not do enough to ensure “permanent adjudication” of asylum claims from migrants at the border, and said the plan should be scrapped and replaced by “comprehensive” immigration reform.

“Many of your Democratic colleagues are not happy with the decision to rescind Title 42 with what they believe is not an adequate enough plan,” Todd noted. “You obviously would like to see Title 42 ended, I know that, but at the same time, you’ve questioned whether we have the resources [or] the commitment to do this. What is the best way to handle this situation and what do you tell your Democratic colleagues that would like to keep Title 42 in place for now?”

“Well, I’ll tell you, Chuck, what I told them at our caucus last week: Title 42 is not the solution, it’s part of the problem,” Menendez responded. “Who who wants to control the border would permit a provision that allows countless numbers of times that an individual can try to cross the border? That’s what Title 42 does. There’s no permanent adjudication of those who have a right under asylum and those who do not have a right, and then would have [an] order of deportation, and if they try to come back, there would be criminal penalties for it. That would stop it.”

Menendez added that Congress needs to pass a “comprehensive immigration plan” to deal with the ongoing flood of migrants at the border, and he blamed Republicans, accusing them of wanting to campaign on the issue instead of solving it. “Our Republican colleagues, however, they want the issue. They don’t want a solution,” he said.

At least ten Democrats in Congress have publicly criticized the Biden administration’s move to lift the Title 42 immigration restriction without a plan to deal with the expected surge of migrants once the restriction ends. That list includes Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema from the border state of Arizona; Michigan Senator Gary Peters; Delaware Senator Chris Coons; New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan; Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock; Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto; West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin; Montana Senator Jon Tester; and Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar. Earlier this month, Sinema and Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing a bill that would block the Biden administration from ending the program.

Speaking on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he disagreed with Democrats’ criticism. “I respectfully disagree with the criticism,” Mayorkas said. “You know, we shared with individuals, with the public, a concept of operations, and they were concerned that that was not enough, they didn’t see enough, that we don’t have a plan. We’ve had a plan for months, as I mentioned, since fall of last year, for the eventual end of Title 42. So, what I did was I published a 20-page memorandum that set forth greater details about our plan.”

In the meantime, a federal judge in Louisiana granted a temporary restraining order keeping Title 42 in place. The Biden administration said Friday it would comply with that order.

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