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Herrell Acts to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 at the Border

January 26, 2021

Congresswoman Herrell's first bill ensures critical border health protections remain in place.

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM-02) yesterday introduced the Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread upon Entry (PAUSE) Act of 2021. The legislation, which prevents the introduction of new COVID-19 cases from our land and sea borders with Canada and Mexico, is the congresswoman's first bill.

"In New Mexico and across the U.S., draconian lockdowns have been imposed in the name of 'slowing the spread' of COVID-19," Congresswoman Herrell explained. "Until the lockdowns and emergency declarations have ended, border health protections must remain in place to prevent the introduction of new cases and new strains of the virus at our borders."

The Biden administration has signaled it may seek to end these border health protections — known as Title 42 — and allow illegal immigrants to enter our country. This move would risk the health and wellbeing of Border Patrol Agents, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, and the general public.

"It would be fundamentally unfair to keep American citizens on lockdown while allowing unfettered entry at the border," Herrell added.

Introduced with more than two dozen original cosponsors, 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traveler health risk level for Canada and Mexico is reduced to Level 1. 

"CDC’s Title 42 has been an effective containment and mitigation strategy, resulting in the reduced introduction of COVID-19 into the U.S. from outside our borders," said former Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan. "To prematurely rescind this order would further endanger the lives of the CBP workforce, the American people, and the immigrants themselves."

The legislation has the support of NumbersUSA, FAIR, and Heritage Action.

"It is absolutely critical, as this pandemic continues, that the protections put into place by Executive Branch agencies under the last administration are kept in place," said Rosemary Jenks, Director of Government Relations for NumbersUSA. "Americans have enough challenges trying to find or maintain employment and keep themselves and their families healthy without having to worry whether the Biden administration is allowing potentially infected foreigners into the United States to worsen the risk for all of us."

"The Pause Act is a common sense bill that calls on the Executive Branch to continue focusing on protecting Americans," Jenks added. "NumbersUSA commends Representative Herrell for introducing it and calls on all Members of Congress to support it."

"Since March, most people caught entering the U.S. illegally have been quickly expelled under a Trump administration policy that invoked CDC emergency powers due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said RJ Hauman, head of government relations at FAIR. "Under the Title 42 order, officials have expelled 393,807 illegal aliens along the U.S.-Mexico border. As Rep. Herrell recognizes, it is absolutely essential that this protection remains in place — not only for the good of her border district, but the nation as a whole."

As of January 26, the legislation has earned 30 cosponsors.

"I applaud Congresswoman Herrell’s efforts to preserve and protect Americans’ health from immigrants who have COVID-19, or may have been exposed to it," said Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05). "Arizonans are directly impacted by illegal border crossings and human and drug trafficking, and I will continue to fight for the safety and well-being of Arizonans and Americans."

"Lifting Title 42 to pander to open-border advocates and allow illegal immigrants to freely roam the country while simultaneously imposing draconian lockdowns on the American people defies common sense," said Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (CO-03). "I applaud Congresswoman Herrell for her leadership and am proud to join her in introducing legislation that will help Customs and Border Protection secure the border and prevent the spread of COVID and other communicable diseases."

"It is common sense to preserve existing COVID-19 health protections at points of entry along both our northern and southern borders,” said Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02). "We need to make sure folks entering our country from Canada and Mexico are not carrying the virus, and this legislation lowers risks to Americans' public health."

"We cannot allow President Biden to jeopardize public health by harboring illegal immigrants during a global pandemic," said Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04). "The PAUSE Act puts Americans first."

"It’s essential that we maintain the highest level of health protections at our borders during the pandemic," said Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42). "I have cosponsored the PAUSE Act to ensure the current safety measures remain in place and the health of Americans remains our top priority."

"I’m proud to support Congresswoman Herrell’s PAUSE Act, which is a crucial step to protect the health and safety of the American people as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic," said Congressman Jerry Carl (AL-01). "Until the pandemic is under control, preventing unfettered immigration into our country is absolutely critical."

"Over the past year, the spread of coronavirus has cost thousands of American lives, jobs, and businesses, which is far too much. As we continue to fight this pandemic, it is important that we protect those within our borders from external threats," said Congressman Scott Franklin (FL-13). "I am proud to join my colleagues in sponsoring the PAUSE Act, and I hope that we can all work together to end this pandemic."

"If Democrats are as concerned as they say they are about the dangers of COVID-19, it is unthinkable that they would open our borders and allow illegal immigrants to flood the country in the middle of a pandemic," said Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01). "The PAUSE from COVID-19 Act will do what the Biden Administration is failing to do: save American lives!"

"The Biden-Harris administration’s threat to remove border health protections unnecessarily puts the health of Americans and our Border Patrol Agents at risk," said Congressman Bob Good (VA-05). "In order to ensure the safety and well-being of our law enforcement and general public, these protections need to remain in place. The health and well-being of Americans must come first."

"America’s borders shouldn’t be wide open while tens of thousands of churches, schools, and businesses are closed due to COVID-19," said Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14). "I’m proud to cosponsor the PAUSE Act to defend American sovereignty and protect vulnerable citizens from the spread of the virus that originated in China."

"Preserving the current existing border health protections will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and allow our country to recover more quickly from the effects of the pandemic," said Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (TN-01). "We must implement common-sense solutions such as the PAUSE Act to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to secure our borders."

"Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to prioritize the public health and safety of Americans," said Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-01). "I am proud to cosponsor the PAUSE from COVID-19 Act, which will bolster protections at our southern border and prevent the further spread of COVID-19."

"For nearly a year now, Americans across the country have struggled to beat back the scourge of COVID-19," said Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC-01). "As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can’t afford to risk new sources of infection that will only make this fight more difficult."

"As a candidate, President Biden emphasized that he had a plan to immediately change the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02). "As a former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, it is highly counterproductive and dangerous to relax public health measures at ANY of our borders, but especially the large caravans surging toward our southern border."

"As we continue to combat the coronavirus, it’s critical that we preserve existing border health protective measures that safeguard Americans from those who may be carrying COVID-19," said Congressman Barry Moore (AL-02). "Our principle responsibility is to protect the American public, and I urge Democrats and the Biden Administration to start putting Americans first and keep these restrictions in place."

"Now, more than ever, we must be vigilant and maintain common-sense health protection measures at our border," said Congressman Burgess Owens (UT-04). "The health and safety of the American people are paramount, and I urge the Biden Administration to act responsibly and refrain from fully opening our country’s borders amid a global pandemic."

"For far too long, the left has created special exceptions for non-citizens at the expense of those who are citizens," said Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-17). "Protecting American citizens should be the priority of the federal government. Let’s focus our efforts on slowing the spread and reopening America."

"Keeping American families safe and healthy is the number one priority during this pandemic," Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02). "I am grateful to be an original cosponsor of the PAUSE Act which takes the important precautions to do exactly that."

The full list of cosponsors include:

Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-5), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Tim Burchett (TN-02), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (TN-01), Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09), Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-15), Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02), Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42), Rep. Pat Fallon (TX-04), Rep. Jerry Carl (AL-01), Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Rep. Bob Good (VA-05), Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Rep. Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05), Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-17), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04) , Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-1), Rep. Scott Perry (PA-10), Rep. Ron Wright (TX-06), and Rep. Brian Babin, D.D.S. (TX-36).