(NewsNation) — Reports have surfaced claiming President Joe Biden’s inner circle is discussing an extension of Title 42.
The Title 42 emergency health order is a COVID-19 provision used to expel many undocumented migrants who illegally cross into the U.S. before they have a chance to officially seek asylum.
Title 42 is set to expire May 23, but according to a report from Axios, the Biden administration is now contemplating an extension.
Biden has come under increasing pressure over the looming expiration of the public health order. Pressure came from both Republicans and a growing number of Democrats who say pulling the plug is a bad idea.
Those with direct knowledge say the White House is trying to buy time — knowing an influx of migrants will result when Title 42 expires
A new Department of Homeland Security report confirmed by NewsNation sources says that after Title 42 expires next month, migrant encounters could spike by a factor of two or even three times what they are now.
This is during a year that immigration authorities have already clocked more than half a million encounters.
“The president has not ever come to the border of Texas and seen the chaos he has caused,” Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “And if he’s not gonna come to the border, we’re gonna take the border to him.”
Border Republicans, like Abbott, implemented strong counteractive measures to turn back migrants. Abbott even bused migrants to Washington, D.C. — while calling on the president to see the border for himself.
There’s also a growing number of Democrats who hesitate to end Title 42, including Arizona Sen. Mark Kelley.
Kelly said on Twitter, “I heard directly from border patrol leadership about operational challenges and discussed with them my concerns about the administration’s intent to lift Title 42 without a comprehensive plan in place. My focus is on ensuring an orderly, humane, and secure border process.”
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said on Twitter, “Icymi: We are still in the midst of a global pandemic & I think it’s imperative that we continue to use Title 42 to protect our country from any type of infectious disease coming in or any new variant of covid-19. Title 42 should be enacted until we get complete border security.”
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons showed concern for the rise in COVID-19 cases across the nation, including border communities.
“In the region where I’m from, we’re seeing infections rise, I think Philadelphia just returned to a mask mandate,” he said. “So my hope is that that will be reconsidered appropriately.”
Some who live and work along the border are asking Biden to keep it in place.
According to border resident Yesenia Rodriguez, “we have a fiasco at the southern border right now.”
“They should help the citizens instead of the illegals,” she said. “We have different variants coming at us from the COVID. It is a health crisis, you know we can’t even control what we have from the country, let alone what’s coming from other countries trying to get in.”
“I myself am an immigrant, but I went through all the right channels. So I wouldn’t say it’s a good thing that he allows illegals,” border resident Onesimo Romero said. “I think the policy itself was a bad policy to begin with. I don’t think it was necessary to protect this country from covid.”
But professor Erin Corcoran, executive director for Notre Dame’s Institute of International Peace Studies, says the White House should end Title 42 since the CDC says it’s no longer necessary from a public health perspective. And she believes the U.S has the capacity to take in the record daily numbers for which the Department of Homeland Security is preparing.
“Relatively speaking, although 18,000 seems like a lot, that’s nothing compared to what Poland is dealing with right now … or other countries,” Corcoran said. “So given the U.S.’s resources, abundance of resources, its government structure … we can deal with this problem. We don’t need to shy away from it.“
If the Biden administration moves forward with ending Title 42, DHS will start to expel migrants under Title 8 instead. Under Title 8, those who attempt to illegally enter the United States without a valid asylum claim will be subject to long-term consequences beyond just removal.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.