Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) will join Republicans in a bill that would extend Title 42 provisions for the sake of securing the southern border, the Washington Examiner reported. A vote on the Secure the Border Act of 2023 is expected to come Thursday.
As part of COVID-19 mitigation measures, former President Donald enacted Title 42, which allowed border officials to turn away migrants over public health concerns. However, that provision will sunset Thursday.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's administration has done nothing to address the ongoing crisis at the border, and it's about to get worse. With the federal government unwilling to do anything to stop it, lawmakers, including Tester, are taking the matter into their own hands.
Sens Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) introduced a bipartisan bill that would limit asylum claims for migrants over public health concerns in legislation that echoes Title 42. Tester is also pushing new measures to reimplement similar protections.
"I oppose the Biden administration plan to end Title 42 this week without a real plan in place, for the strain that will put on an already broken immigration system," Tester said in a statement. The Montana Democrat said the Department of Homeland Security needed more time to get "the tools they need to get a better handle on the crisis at our southern border" before the onslaught.
"My top priority is defending Montana and keeping our nation safe," Tester added. "That means standing up to anyone, including President Biden, to secure the southern border and stop the deadly flow of fentanyl into our communities."
Previously, Tester proposed the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act in response to the flood of dangerous illegal drugs coming over the border. With the help of Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is running for president in 2024, the lawmakers crafted the legislation that would put sanctions "on the money laundering that makes it profitable."
The president has only exacerbated the problem by standing by as illegal immigration continues to rage out of control. Yet he at least has begun quietly admitting there is a problem -- but of course, he is blaming Republicans for it.
During remarks Tuesday, Biden said the situation will be "chaotic for a while" following Title 42's expiration, Fox News reported. However, he was careful to note in comments the following day the GOP was to blame.
"Well, we've had chaos at the border for a number of years," Biden told reporters before jetting off in Air Force One from White Plains, New York, Wednesday. "We have to fully fund the border security effort," he said.
"Look, the purpose of what we're doing now is making legal immigration more streamlined, illegal immigration shorter term and moved -- and moving in a direction that people know that there's a legal way to get here and not legal way," Biden claimed. "That is what’s underway now."
The facts demonstrate otherwise, of course. Biden was sworn in with a Democratic House of Representatives and a tie-breaking vote in the Senate in January 2021. He could have passed whatever legislation he wanted then if it was a matter of funding, but failed to do so.
Moreover, he has refused to use funds already earmarked for border security and has eliminated other limiting provisions, such as the "Remain in Mexico" policy, which forced border crossers to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed. Now, he's also letting Title 42 expire, further demonstrating his lack of commitment to border security.
Even Democrats can see the slow-motion disaster that is unfolding at the border and accelerating by the day. Still, neither Republicans nor Democrats will be able to do anything about it unless Biden is thrown out of office.