Sens. Kelly and Sinema on the Biden Administration’s Decision to End Title 42

Today, Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema issued the following statements regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to announce an end to the Title 42 public health authority without first implementing a comprehensive response plan. Last week, Kelly and Sinema underscored to the Administration how Arizona communities, migrants, and public health could be harmed if a Title 42 end is not accompanied by proper planning, coordination, and resources. 

 “This is the wrong decision. It’s unacceptable to end Title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border. From my numerous visits to the southern border and conversations with Arizona’s law enforcement, community leaders, mayors, and non-profits, it’s clear that this administration’s lack of a plan to deal with this crisis will further strain our border communities. Despite this decision, I’m going to continue pushing for Arizona to get every additional resource that we can to assist at the border,” said Senator Kelly. 

“Prematurely ending Title 42 without a comprehensive, workable plan would put at risk the health and safety of Arizona communities and migrants. Today’s decision to announce an end to Title 42 despite not yet having a comprehensive plan ready shows a lack of understanding about the crisis at our border. I’ll continue pushing for transparency and accountability from the Administration to help secure the border, keep Arizona communities safe, and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely,” said Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee.

This week Kelly and Sinema spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the Administration’s Title 42 contingency plans. Both senators underscored how Arizona communities and migrants could be harmed if a Title 42 end is not accompanied by proper planning, coordination, and resources. Sinema also raised concerns she heard from her recent virtual border roundtable with federal and non-governmental partners in Arizona, and other conversations she has had with Arizona DHS officials. Sinema called for DHS to launch an intergovernmental coordination effort to ensure communication between federal, state, local, and non-governmental partners to strengthen cooperation. Secretary Mayorkas agreed to move forward with that strategy across the country. Kelly emphasized the need for proactive engagement and clear communications between the Department of Homeland Security, Congressional offices, local officials, sheriffs, and local governments. He also asked Secretary Mayorkas for details on how the increased funding Kelly and Sinema secured in the omnibus for border management and security will be used, especially as Title 42 is lifted.

Recently, Kelly and Sinema sent a letter to President Biden expressing concerns that an abrupt end to Title 42 enforcement without a comprehensive response plan in place could harm Arizona communities and migrants and greatly increase the strain on Department of Homeland Security, and local nonprofits that are already near or at capacity due to the current border crisis. Kelly and Sinema’s letter states that Title 42 authority should not be used indefinitely, but points out that migrants and Arizona communities could be harmed if an ending to Title 42 is not accompanied by proper planning, coordination, and resources. 

Last June, Kelly and Sinema asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to proactively create a comprehensive plan in advance of an end to Title 42 and requested to be briefed on this plan. In their most recent letter, the Senators say they have not seen evidence that DHS has developed and implemented a sufficient plan. Recently, Kelly and Sinema secured critical federal funding to help Arizona manage the current migrant crisis, improve border security, and keep Arizona communities safe.