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Area Sheriffs Back Herrell Border Bill

February 17, 2021

Herrell and 51 House Republicans Also Warn Biden Not to Rescind Title 42

Alamogordo, N.M. — Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) today announced letters of support for H.R. 471, the Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread Upon Entry (PAUSE) from COVID-19 Act from five county sheriffs in the second district. The congresswoman’s legislation would prohibit the Biden administration from rescinding a critical border health protection commonly known as Title 42. 

“Our hospital is struggling to deal with the sick in our community, as it is, and repealing Title 42 would be devastating to our resources,” wrote Luna County Sheriff Kelly Gannaway, who noted various illnesses contracted by county employees and volunteers during the 2019 migrant surge. 

“If Title 42 is repealed during this time of dealing with COVID, it will place the constituents of Otero County at risk of not only additional COVID exposures and an increase in positive cases, but” of further economic damage wrote Otero County Sheriff David Black, who likewise noted illnesses contracted by law enforcement colleagues during the 2019 crisis. 

“It is in the utmost importance that legislation is introduced to prevent President Biden from ending policies that allow the removal of those who illegally enter the United States, especially while there is a global pandemic occurring,” wrote Hidalgo County Sheriff Warren D. Walter

“I find it absurd that she would have to introduce legislation to protect American citizens especially during this pandemic,” wrote Lea County Sheriff Corey M. Helton. “I fully support Congresswoman Herrell with this legislation.”

“There could not be a responsible way to open our borders when it is a requirement of our own citizens to quarantine when traveling,” wrote Roosevelt County Sheriff Malin Parker.

A February 2 Executive Order signed by President Biden threatens the continued ability of the Border Patrol to quickly remove illegal immigrants.

Last week Herrell joined a letter by Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) and 50 other House Republicans warning Biden that “the ‘Trump Administration’s policy to use [Title 42] is perhaps now the only policy ensuring the southern border is not immediately rushed.” 

“If Title 42 is indeed rescinded, the daily illegal flow will become catastrophic overnight,” the representatives wrote. 

BACKGROUND

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, under 42 U.S. Code § 265, 268 (Title 42), prevents entry to illegal immigrants who attempt to enter the U.S. through Canada or Mexico who may have COVID. The order applies to people traveling from Canada or Mexico, regardless of their national origin, who would be placed “into a congregate setting in a land or coastal Port of Entry or Border Patrol Station at or near the United States borders with Canada or Mexico.” There are some exceptions to this rule including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and unaccompanied minors. Exemptions may also be granted, on a case-by-case basis, for “humanitarian” interests.

From October 2020 to January 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used Title 42 authorities to expel 247,116 migrants. Some within CBP have stated 70 percent of migrants encountered and sent to the hospital have COVID-19 and 10 percent of Unaccompanied Alien Children sent to Health and Human Services custody have COVID-19, while admitting they have no good way to determine exact numbers because they do not test for the disease. Many believe it is far higher and the 10 percent encompasses only those who present symptoms.

The PAUSE Act requires Title 42 remain in effect until:

•    All state and federal lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, curfews, and other COVID-19 mandates end;

•    All public and federal public health emergencies for COVID-19 end; and

•    The CDC's COVID-19 traveler health risk level for Canada and Mexico is reduced to Level 1.

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