President Biden's inner circle has been discussing delaying the repeal of Title 42 border restrictions, now set to end May 23. The White House is looking for ways to buy time to avoid a massive influx of migrants that would add to already-historic border numbers, Axios reports. That endangers Democratic incumbents in states that could decide the Senate majority in November. Biden officials recognize they're in a jam: moderate Democrats are pounding on them to delay the repeal but doing so would inflame the party's progressive base. That includes members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who are scheduled to meet with the president next Monday. A full reversal of the decision to end Title 42, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 1, is considered by Biden officials to be far less likely than a delay. Reversing the decision would force the White House to overrule the CDC.
The CDC's Title 42 order was issued in March 2020 under former President Trump. It used the pandemic as a reason for turning back migrants attempting to enter the U.S., without the chance to seek asylum. Biden has benefitted from the border restriction but also been reluctant to overrule the CDC throughout the pandemic — and is unlikely to start now. Biden administration officials have been arguing to their Democratic allies that keeping Title 42 allows for less immigration enforcement. They say that because Title 42 is a rapid expulsion, migrants are free to try to re-enter the U.S. again after being expelled without facing consequences. Once Title 42 is lifted, they say, the administration will properly process migrants. People who are removed after being processed would face more serious consequences than those being rapidly expelled under the current system.