Dec 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas Gov. Abbott calls on courts to uphold Title 42

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in an interview aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week" called on courts to intervene and uphold the Trump-era Title 42 policy that allows the U.S. to expel migrants at the southern border without the chance for asylum.

Why it matters: The policy, barring further appeals, is set to expire Wednesday after an appeals court denied a Republican effort to retain it last week, setting up a possible increase in migrant arrivals.

  • During the Trump administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented Title 42 to block migrants from coming to the U.S. as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they're saying: Abbott argued the coronavirus-era policy should be kept in place because of the coronavirus.

  • “If the courts do not intervene and put a halt to the removal of Title 42, it's going to be total chaos," Abbott said in the interview.
  • "Whether it's COVID or some other issue, when you have people coming across the globe without knowing at all what their health status is, that almost by definition is a public health risk," he said when asked how the policy can be kept in place specifically in response to the coronavirus. "There's every reason to keep that in place."
  • "But some do come across with COVID, and no one knows exactly who comes across with COVID. These people are not tested when they come across the border. Who knows how many people have COVID ... The answer is nobody knows because nobody is testing."

The other side: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), who supports the end of Title 42, said in a separate interview with ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the policy is "not immigration policy."

  • "Title 42 was put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as health policy. Even then I disagreed, but that's what brought Title 42 to bear. We’re in a much different place when it comes to COVID today."
  • Padilla also said Sunday the expected migratory increase after Title 42's end would be a "challenge" because "the prior administration starved the very departments and agencies of the resources they need, not just to patrol the border but to process these lawful asylum claims."

The big picture: Abbott previously ended all state coronavirus restrictions in 2021 and banned all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state.

  • Title 42 could remain in place for months if the legal dispute goes before the Supreme Court.

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Texas has spent over $12 million sending migrants to New York and D.C.

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