The Biden administration has maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, but the rush to end Title 42 shows how “inconsistent” their claims are, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR).
Hutchinson said President Joe Biden has a “separate agenda” and is not merely trying to manage the public health crisis, but is using the emergency to extend Medicaid requirements.
“The fact is, we still have COVID. We still have flu. And we manage the COVID in the same way that you manage the flu, not in the sense of a public health emergency,” Arkansas’s governor said Friday on Fox Business’s The Evening Edit.
ALL EYES ON CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS AS TITLE 42 BORDER POLICY HANGS BY A THREAD
“Totally inconsistent. We need to continue [Title 42]. He knows what’s coming ahead,” Hutchinson told host Elizabeth MacDonald. “It’s unacceptable to say that we’ve got to end this now.”
Title 42 of the Public Health Service Act of 1944 was enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2020, one week after then-President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
The policy gave the Trump administration the ability to deny the admission of goods and people who posed a risk of spreading a communicable disease. Under the law, all noncitizens seeking asylum at ports of entry and those who crossed illegally between the ports were to be expelled back immediately into Mexico and not be taken into custody by Border Patrol.
The Arkansas Republican said the administration should keep the policy in place until April to give Congress time to enact specific changes to the Trump-era immigration policy.
“[There are] other ways to approach it that would protect our border. Congress needs to address it in that fashion,” he said.
Top Biden officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been silent about the end of Title 42, even as they’ve worked tirelessly to promote vaccination and other COVID-related restrictions. Hutchinson came to Fauci’s defense.
“While he should speak out and be clear, and he doesn’t need to get in the political arena, he’s a public health official, [so] he ought to stick to the public health requirements,” the governor said, since it’s a topic overlaid with politics.
But sometimes, Hutchinson noted, the leadership has to reverse what public health officials say in order to keep the economy moving or to protect the border. “We’ve got to put a practicality to our border security,” he said.
“Title 42 needs to continue, not because Dr. Fauci is saying we have a public health crisis, but because it is the practical thing that we need to do right now. Until we enact other options to protect our border: That’s the bottom line,” Hutchinson said.
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The policy was slated to expire on Wednesday but was kept from termination after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary administrative stay following an emergency plea from 19 Republican-led states.
The Biden administration also asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday for a delay in the termination, asking for the program to conclude no sooner than next week.