(The Center Square) – As Title 42 – a COVID-19 policy that allowed border authorities to turn away asylum seekers – ends next week, Arizona officials are concerned about the consequences of allowing more people to remain in the United States after crossing the southern border illegally.
The Department of Homeland Security said that the order would no longer be in effect on Dec. 21, as it was originally intended to be a way to remove migrants based on fear of COVID-19 spread.
There are concerns that an even greater influx of migrants will strain authorities and border communities. Many Trump-era border policies were removed by President Joe Biden, but this is one of the few policies that’s remained.
Jobe Dickinson, president of the Border Security Alliance, said in a statement that Title 42 is a necessary “mitigation strategy” that was “heavily relied upon for nearly 3 years.”
“With the forthcoming termination of this policy, the Border Security Alliance believes there could be another surge of illegal immigrants who will take advantage of our flawed border policies,” Dickinson said. “We urge policy makers to work to fix the current and anticipated surge immediately by going back to a ‘Remain in Mexico’ program for asylum seekers.”
Meanwhile, the state government is in an ongoing battle with the Biden administration over the state’s decision to use shipping containers as barriers in the Yuma sector of the border.
“The number one public safety risk and environmental harm has come from inaction by the federal government to secure our border,” Anni Foster, general counsel of the Arizona governor’s office, said in a recent letter to the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
There were over 2.3 million border encounters at the southern border in the fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection data. In Arizona alone, there were over 500,000 border encounters, the Arizona Daily Star reported.