Beto O’Rourke admitted to having “very legitimate concerns” about President Biden’s border policy during a press conference in Texas on Tuesday
Democrat Beto O’Rourke distanced himself from President Joe Biden’s border policies on Tuesday when he said the administration needed to be better prepared before lifting Title 42 of the pandemic-era deportation policy.
State, local and federal officials fear that letting the rule expire on May 23 as scheduled will lead to a mass migrant event that would overwhelm border communities and the already strained Department of Homeland Security.
Title 42 was signed into law under Donald Trump and allows border agents to turn away asylum seekers regardless of status in the name of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
O’Rourke, a failed presidential candidate who is now running to oust Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, was asked about the policy at a press conference.
He said there were “very legitimate concerns” about his lifting, and that “even those who try to seek asylum or come to this country to work or join their families, there must be a process much neater for them to do than what we’re seeing right now.
O’Rourke took the opportunity to attack Abbott for his “stunt” sending migrants from the Texas border to Washington, DC.
“The answer is to find solutions — to call on the federal government to do its job, to partner with local communities by showing up and listening to them to hear the solutions they also offer,” the candidate said.
He stepped up criticism of the White House by admitting “problems” with the Biden administration over immigration policy, while answering a question from a Spanish-speaking reporter.
O’Rourke said in Spanish that he doesn’t believe the president has a plan to address the migrant crisis that’s straining local border communities – and that if he does, Biden isn’t yet sharing it with him.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on April 1 that it was lifting Title 42 because it was “no longer necessary to protect public health.”
Progressive groups and human rights advocates have been pushing Biden to lift the rule, which was instituted under Donald Trump, since he took office. They lobbied the president over his 2020 campaign promise to repeal his predecessor’s “inhumane” border policies.
But several moderate Democrats, including O’Rourke, walked out of the White House to criticize the Biden administration’s decision.
“It doesn’t make sense to end this until there’s a real plan and the capacity in place to manage these and deal with those that come in,” O’Rourke told the Texas Tribune on Tuesday. .
“I have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration to respond to the dynamics we will have on the border once Title 42 is complete.”
On Capitol Hill, senators on both sides of the aisle are trying to hammer out legislation that would pump pauses on Biden’s decision to overturn it next month, before believing the Department of Homeland Security would be ready to handle a expected increase in migrants at the southern border.
Democrats’ refusal to consider an amendment preventing Biden from lifting Title 42 has sunk a $10 billion COVID pandemic relief package after weeks of bipartisan negotiations. Every Republican in the Senate voted to block the legislation.
O’Rourke also took aim at GOP Governor Greg Abbott, whom he is challenging in the November election, for his “stunt” of busing migrants in Washington, DC.
A child plays as families live in tents at the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter with refugee migrants from Central and South American countries, including Honduras and Haiti, seeking asylum in the United States, as Title 42 and Mexico border restrictions continue, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico on April 9
And House Rep. Henry Cuellar became the 11th Democrat in Congress to break with the White House and sign the bill fighting to keep Title 42 in place.
Cuellar, like O’Rourke, is from Texas.
“We all believe in immigration reform, but we don’t want border chaos. We want law and order on the border,’ Cuellar told Fox News on Sunday.
At least a dozen moderate Democrats across the country have publicly broken with the Biden administration’s decision to lift Title 42 in late May.
The bills keeping Title 42 in place have the support of six Democrats in the House and five in the Senate.
Cuellar said his party “is going to be hit hard by the Republicans” if its members don’t “stand up and do the right thing.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the White House’s decision to lift the policy as an “outrageous decision”.
He warned on Fox News on Sunday that it would “produce a spurt far beyond the open border that we already have, produce a spurt of more people coming in.”
“Totally inconsistent, by the way, with them asking us for $10 billion for vaccines and treatments,” McConnell added, returning to the aid package.
Three GOP-led states — Arizona, Louisiana and Mississippi — are suing to stop the White House from letting Title 42 expire.
Last month, before the policy had an announced expiration date, DHS warned it was preparing for the worst-case scenario with up to 18,000 people trying to cross the border a day when it was lifted. .
The federal government used the policy to evict thousands of mostly Haitian migrants from under a bridge in El Paso, Texas, last year after crowded and filthy conditions in the tent city in which they were housed sparked a humanitarian outcry.