President Biden has repeatedly said that on COVID-19 he’d “follow the science.” His Administration’s shifting and contradictory positions on pandemic precautions suggest otherwise.
Let’s look at some of these recent actions.
On April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it would end the use of Title 42. This measure, authorized by the Public Health Service Act, allows the Federal Government to suspend the introduction of persons into the United States to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, such as coronavirus. It was first invoked by the Trump Administration in March 2020.
Using Title 42 allows for the quicker expulsion of illegal immigrants crossing the border. Without this authority, they could be introduced into the interior of the country with the disease or detained in facilities under conditions that enabled its spread.
Title 42 is one of the few tools that the Biden Administration used to prevent illegal immigration. When the President entered office, he set about dismantling border security arrangements that President Trump had made, such as the Remain in Mexico policy and Migrant Protection Protocols, to gain control of the southern border.
Unsurprisingly, cutting border security has led to a surge of illegal immigration, as well as trafficking of illicit substances. In the past six months alone, agents arrested over a million illegal immigrants at the southern border. March had the highest number of arrests since February 2000. If arrests are up, so are the overall numbers of migrants. Further, many of those arrested are released into the country, ordered to report for hearings that they never attend.
The Biden Administration knows that ending Title 42 will encourage more illegal immigration. It is preparing for an average of up to 18,000 illegal border crossers per day, a staggering amount even by today’s elevated numbers. No indicators suggest that President Biden has a plan to stop this influx.
Ending Title 42 suggests that the CDC believes mass illegal immigration will not spread the coronavirus. But apparently Americans flying on planes or taking the bus will, because the agency extended the transportation mask mandate. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) similarly extended the public health emergency. Science cannot explain the discrepancy here between the pandemic measures ended or extended, but politics and power can.
After a federal judge struck down the transportation mask mandate on April 19, confusion swirled around the Administration’s next steps, and the President himself was enveloped in it. Within the span of a day:
- White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We would advise all Americans” to wear masks on planes.
- President Biden, when asked if Americans should wear masks on planes, said, “That’s up to them.”
- HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “We likely will appeal that ruling.”
This last position was the one that the Administration finally settled on, but it is difficult to see how science could dictate these varying positions within hours of each other.
To be clear on where I stand, I called for ending the public health emergency months ago and believe ending the transportation mask mandate is appropriate. Widespread availability of vaccinations and treatments combined with less severe strains of COVID-19 that currently prevail in the country should reassure most Americans as we return to normal. Individuals should feel free to take the precautions they believe necessary, but mandates from the government at this stage of the pandemic take away freedom with little gain in the way of safety.
I believe Title 42 should continue to be implemented because it is the only tool that has proven effective during the Biden Administration at deterring border crossings and expelling illegal immigrants. If the Administration was willing to genuinely apply other enforcement tools, Title 42 would not remain necessary.
I certainly do not understand why pandemic restrictions should be lifted on illegal immigrants while they remain in effect for American citizens.
The Biden Administration should abandon its appeal on the transportation mask mandate and end the public health emergency. Rather than fighting to impose restrictions that have outlived any usefulness, it should turn its attention to securing the border and reducing inflation, or at least stop making these problems worse.
– Congressman Morgan Griffith