Kelly proposes bill to extend Title 42 expulsion policy

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on May 10 sponsored legislation that would extend an order that suspends the right for certain aliens to enter the United States along its land borders until Feb. 1, 2025.

“I have no confidence in the Biden administration to develop a long-term, comprehensive immigration plan,” Rep. Kelly said. “Over the last 16 months, the Biden administration has shown they cannot contain the continuing surge of migrants. Instead, they have only delivered empty rhetoric. Immigration facilities remain overwhelmed with waves of illegal immigrants crossing by the thousands.”

Specifically, Rep. Kelly’s bill, the Spc. Bishop E. Evans Border Security Act, H.R. 7707, aims to strengthen U.S. border security by extending the March 2020 order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Title 42 of U.S. law that suspends the right to introduce certain persons into the United States from countries where a quarantinable communicable disease exists. 

The Biden administration on April 1 announced that the order, commonly known as the Title 42 expulsion policy, would end on May 23. But, according to Rep. Kelly, “extending Title 42 provides a vital, short-term solution for the Department of Homeland Security to maintain the flow of illegal immigrants at our nation’s borders.”

“Lifting Title 42 will only make the humanitarian crisis worse,” the congressman said.

Title 42 is a public health and welfare statute enacted in 1944 that gave the U.S. Surgeon General the authority — which was later transferred to the CDC — to determine whether communicable disease in a foreign country poses a danger of spreading in the U.S., according to information provided by Rep. Kelly’s staff.

Under the Trump administration’s interpretation of Title 42, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents could immediately remove anyone entering the country without authorization to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the information says, an action that closed the border to non-essential travel in the “interest of public health.”

Rep. Kelly’s bill is companion legislation to the same-named S. 4022, introduced on April 6 by 11 Republicans, including U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Tim Scott (R-SC).

The bill is named after National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans, a 22-year-old field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas, who died saving drowning migrants trying to cross the Rio Grande at America’s southern border.

If enacted, the measure would extend Title 42 authority by codifying in statute the CDC Title 42 expulsion order until Feb. 1, 2025 to suspend the right for certain aliens to enter America.