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In a 2-page open letter sent Monday, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said his region “is situated at a unique crossroads of national security and economic considerations.”
Hidalgo County was particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic disruptions, he said.
“It is with this in mind that I write to invite you to visit our border community before your administration makes any substantial changes to current border policy,” he 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)
Title 42 is a health policy implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 as the nation was reeling from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy allowed federal authorities to quickly deport migrants at the border to prevent cross-border spread of the virus.
The Biden administration said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be lifting Title 42 in late May. But a federal judge in Louisiana ruled last week that the government could not unwind the rule before the end date.
Border officials are anticipating a surge amid already increasing levels of illegal border crossings once Title 42. Cortez said the United States will ultimately be impacted by border crossings, but “the initial impact (will be) limited to border communities.”
Migrants hold up pinatas with pictures of Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and former U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest at the border fence in Playas Tijuana to demand the U.S. government to lift a public health order known as Title 42, a COVID-era policy that allows the expulsion of migrants to prevent the spread of the virus, in Tijuana, Mexico April 29, 2022. (REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)
“We bear the responsibility of welcoming, treating, and caring for those migrants even as we struggle to care for the less fortunate in our community,” Cortez wrote.
“If we continue on the current path that ceases enforcement of the current order, the negative consequences are expected to be real and immediate for American citizens living in border communities across the Southwest.”
Fox News has reached out to the White House for comment on Cortez’s invite but did not hear back before publication.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.