The White House said Wednesday that it expects an “influx” of migrants at the border when Title 42 ends.
During a briefing, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told reporters that they do expect a migrant surge when the order is lifted and that the administration is preparing for such a scenario.
The order was first put in place in March 2020 by the Trump administration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Border authorities have returned over 1.7 million migrants since the order began, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“This is a decision that we have long deferred to CDC, Title 42 is a public health directive, it is not an immigration or migration enforcement measure. So, the decision on when to lift Title 42, we defer to the CDC,” Bedingfield said.
“That being said, of course, we’re planning for multiple contingencies and we have every expectation that when the CDC ultimately decides it’s appropriate to lift Title 42, there will be an influx of people to the border and so we are doing a lot of work to plan for that contingency,” she added.
Bedingfield also stressed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is posturing itself to deal with the surge.
WH Comms Director Kate Bedingfield:
"When the CDC ultimately decides it's appropriate to lift Title 42, there will be an influx of people to the border." pic.twitter.com/nJAD8YMeJO
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 30, 2022
When asked about the surge last spring, Bedingfield said that the administration handled that situation and is prepared to do the same in spring 2022.
“Well, I think if you look back to the spring … there was an effort to move those unaccompanied minors as quickly as possible out of Border Patrol custody and into facilities that were more suited for children and we were able to dramatically reduce those numbers,” Bedingfield said. “They were in the thousands over the course of a couple of months, through the work of DHS and others and HHS, I should say, we were able to dramatically reduce those numbers, move those kids quickly out of Border Patrol custody and into the system.”
“So, I think, if you look at what we were able to do last spring, there was an ability to move those numbers and move those children quickly into facilities that were better suited for them,” she added. “Writ large, I would again point to the things that the President has done to try to rebuild what was, if you remember when we came into office, a system that was decimated by the previous administration.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision could come as early as Wednesday, according to CBS News. The order is expected to officially end in May, The New York Times reported.