This week, Mark Morgan, former U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner and Heritage visiting fellow, explains what Title 42 is and why it will be so catastrophic when the Biden administration ends it prematurely.
Mark Morgan: When Title 42, May 23rd, goes away, you're going to see what I refer to as a crushing tidal wave. DHS' own intelligence and say, they could spike up to 18,000 per day. That's just simply unsustainable and unconscionable.
Michelle Cordero: From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Michelle Cordero, and this is Heritage Explains.
Cordero: The Biden administration recently announced that it will end Title 42, a CDC order which began under the Trump administration, that was designed to keep COVID-19 from being imported across our borders. The decision has raised alarm.
Clip: Well, here comes another caravan with hundreds of migrants, reportedly on the way to the United States after reports that President Biden is about to end Title 42, a move that's even alarming senate Democrats. New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan tweeted this. "I am concerned that there is not a sufficient plan in place to address the steep increase in border crossings that could result from the reported decision. This preemptive repeal threatens border security at a time when the administration should be focused on strengthening it."
Cordero: Hassan isn't the only Democrat concerned. At the time of this episode's recording, Senators John Tester, Joe Manchin, Mark Kelly, and Kyrsten Sinema have also spoken out. Here's another response that made headlines. Listen to what Texas Governor Greg Abbot had to say.
Greg Abbott: The Biden administration, as we speak, with the current numbers, even before the elimination of Title 42, they've been dumping large numbers of migrants in cities up and down the border, leaving the cities to grapple with challenges they don't have the capability of dealing with. They themselves have been putting these migrants on buses to San Antonio. So I said, I got a better idea. As opposed to busing these people to San Antonio, let's continue the ride all the way to Washington D.C.
Cordero: Our guest today is former acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner and Heritage Visiting Fellow Mark Morgan. Morgan will explain why ending Title 42 is so dangerous, how many migrants we could be expecting, and what the Biden administration should be doing about it. Our conversation, right after this break.
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Cordero: Mark, thank you so much for joining us.
Morgan: You bet. Thanks for having me, Michelle.
Cordero: So, how many more migrants do we expect to see at the border, if Title 42 is ended?
Morgan: Well, so that's a really good question. And the reality is, it's already happening. So what happens when there's any change in a policy impacting the border, even when there's just mere talk, before it's actually implemented, the cartels and smugglers already start to exploit it, and they already have been. So, the cartels and smugglers are already telling the migrants, "Hey, now's the time to come, because they're going to start letting everybody in." And so you're already seeing the numbers pop up. I'm being told by sources now, the daily average is well over 8,000 per day. And to keep that in perspective, back when Jeh Johnson was secretary under the Obama, then vice-president Biden administration, remember what he used to say is that, "A thousand was a bad day." We're already at eight times that much, but when Title 42, May 23rd, goes away, you're going to see what I refer to as a crushing tidal wave. DHS' own intelligence and say, it could spike up to 18,000 per day. That's just simply unsustainable and unconscionable.
Cordero: Can you walk me through the process a little bit? How did Title 42 work, and how is it that ending it means more migrants?
Morgan: Yeah. So those are two very important questions. So, it's very important that the listeners understand that Title 42 is not an immigration policy. It's a public health policy and it's design was, and it makes sense, right? During a global pandemic where Americans are dying, and people all over the globe are dying, is that it was to further reduce the introduction of the deadly disease into our country, from outside our borders. And it started in March, in 2020 and the Trump administration, and it was very effective. And it was so effective that, that's exactly why the Biden administration has continued it.
Morgan: Look, as this country, we're still going through a new variant. We still have mandates. We've been tested. We've been vaccinated, we've been boosted, but Michelle, the problem is a lot of countries are far behind us. Haiti, for example, has less than 1% of its population fully vaccinated. So, that's why, when now is supposed to be, somebody comes across the border illegally, we stop them at the border. We process them quickly, usually within a couple hours, and we remove them to reduce the further introduction of this deadly disease in the United States. And at the end, it has saved countless American lives and prevented untold suffering. And so, it makes sense that this administration is getting ready to end this program.
Cordero: What has the Biden administration given as their reasoning for ending Title 42?
Morgan: Yeah, so I just, in fact, I just watched another clip this morning. Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, like they do often when they're getting ready to take action on the Southwest border that will make our border completely wide open, they punt it. So they punted it to the CDC. Say, "Well, this isn't our order. This is the CDC order. They control it." Well, look, I was there in the White House. I was there, when I was actually in the Oval Office with the president of the United States, when they were also talking to then director of CDC. And why? Because you have to have both.
Morgan: There has to be understanding of the medical science, but there has to be understanding of the realities at the border, of which CDC, and I'm sorry, is they don't know. These career officials in CDC, alls they know is with respect to medical science. They don't know what's happening on the border. They don't understand that illegal aliens are kept in overcrowded, unsanitary stash houses for days and weeks. Sometimes tractor trailers, where they'll put a hundred illegal aliens in a tractor trailer before they come across. I used to refer to those as multiple Petri dishes. I had conversations early on that, clearly they had no idea. They wouldn't even look at it, other countries. They wouldn't even look at how other countries have not been successful in handling this. So, this is unconscionable that this administration wants to hide behind now, this CDC. If they wanted to, they have the power to keep this policy in place.
Cordero: Have they responded at all to the alarming numbers?
Morgan: Yes. Oh, absolutely. Here's how they responded, just like they have since day one. They don't respond with policies to reverse action, to secure our borders, and to reduce the flow of immigration. What you're seeing now is what we call a whole of government approach. Sounds really good, really catchy, really important, right? Like they're really taking action, but let's be clear what their whole of government approach is. It's not to secure the borders. It's not to reduce the flow of illegal immigration. It's simply to get more resources down there, to process these illegal aliens faster, and release them into the interior of the United States as fast as possible. And that's what we're already seeing. You're already seeing them, what I believe is the unlawful use of mass parole, to release people as fast as possible, to get them out of the overcrowded facilities, to reduce the bad political optics of that. It's simply unconscionable.
Morgan: And real quick, I think I didn't fully answer one of your other questions is, why is this tidal wave of illegal immigration so connected to the border? And, why I said this is about border security, is because when you have millions of illegal aliens invade our Southern border, border patrol resources are pulled off the line. They become defacto travel agencies for these illegal immigrants. Well, the cartels exploit that. It leaves large areas of border wide open, uncontrolled, unmonitored, and what happens? That's why all the cartels are pouring drugs into this country, killing Americans. Gang members, criminal aliens. In fact, I was just watching this morning in one of the nine sectors along the south force border, just in a couple of days, they apprehended a couple MS-13 gang members and a child rapist. That's who they apprehend. But also, there's been over 700,000 got aways, because our borders are wide open. Those that have broken in our country, evaded apprehension, and made the way to every town, city, and state, guess what? There are really bad people, including murderers, rapists, and other criminals among that 700,000.
Cordero: Wow. So, in conclusion, what are some of the things that the Biden administration should be doing to get things under control?
Morgan: So the first thing I'm saying, I don't mean to be flip, but go to the DHS and take the Trump era, a vast network of policy tools and authorities off the shelf, dust it off and just implement that. I mean, really. I mean, the Asylum Cooperative Agreements with all three Northern triangle countries, reinstate that. The Remain In Mexico program, reinstate that along all 2000 miles of the border. Start building the wall again, and start detaining and removing individuals, instead of the secretary getting out there and saying that, being here in the country illegally or having a final order of removal is not enough to remove you. They need to change course, 180 degrees.
Cordero: Mark, thank you so much. Really important coverage, especially right now. We appreciate you joining us.
Morgan: You bet, Michelle. Thank you.
Cordero: And, that's it for today. Guys, we would love to hear from you. What do you think about Joe Biden ending Title 42? Leave us a comment wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week.