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FIRST ON FOX: Over 70 sheriffs organized by the National Sheriffs’ Association are calling on lawmakers in Congress to act to keep the Title 42 public health order in place, warning that thousands of migrants are heading to the U.S. border — amid continued concerns of an even bigger surge when the order lifts in May.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier this month that the order, which has been used to quickly expel migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, will end on May 23.
It has led to concerns from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle of a massive border surge that outpaces even the massive numbers currently being seen. There were more than 221,000 encounters in March, half of whom were expelled via Title 42. The Biden administration has itself said it is bracing for up to 18,000 migrants a day.
Immigrant men from many countries are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border on December 07, 2021 in Yuma, Arizona. Governors from 26 states have formed a strike force to address the crisis at the border. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Now, in a letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, the more than 70 sheriffs “call for the Congress to keep Title 42 and help save American lives.”
“Title 42 is the only policy provision left since 2022 that helps to stop the unhealthy (no COVID testing) border crossings by millions of illegal entrants to our country,” they write.
McConnell has opposed the ending of Title 42, calling it “outrageous” and warning that it will create a “gusher” of illegal migration at the border. Schumer meanwhile has long called for the order to be ended, calling it “disastrous for immigrant families seeking asylum from the horrors in their own countries.”
They say that “we simply have no border left in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas or Southern California” and point to the ending of the Remain in Mexico policy, new interior enforcement policies and the end to border wall construction by the Biden administration.
“Today, there are thousands of immigrants in the jungles of the Darien gap headed to the US border. We simply don’t know their health status and implore you to keep Title 42 as the last policy we have to keep Americans safe from COVID and a host of other communicable diseases carried by these immigrants,” they say.
They note that the U.S. has already encountered more than a million migrants in just six months of the fiscal year.
“This letter addresses Title 42 so we won’t speak about the amount of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, ghost guns, ammunition and other deadly substances flowing across our border at this very moment,” they say.
It’s the latest warning by officials about the impact of Title 42 lifting. A number of Republican states have sued to stop the lifting of the policy, while Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have signed onto legislation that would delay the end of the order by at least 60 days until the Biden administration comes forward with a plan on how to deal with the impact of lifting the order.
Schumer did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment and McConnell pointed to previous remarks in support of keeping Title 42 in place.