We can't keep playing hot potato with the southern border

A flood of immigrants will follow when Title 42 expires. Will Congress act?

Mexico and Texas.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

Joe Biden is holding yet another hot potato. On May 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directive that permitted the Department of Homeland Security to immediately expel asylum seekers at the southern border will expire. As administration officials admit, the revocation of "Title 42" authority granted while Donald Trump was president is likely to encourage a surge of migrants large enough to overwhelm processing capacities. If that happens, tens or hundreds of thousands of people from over the world will be released into the United States, under the theoretically binding but loosely enforced requirement to attend a hearing at some point months or years in the future.

That's more bad news for an administration reeling from the combination of rising inflation and crime, which are undercutting its popularity even among loyal Democrats. Voters dislike chaos and object to the appearance that the laws are not being applied fairly. Aware of the political risks, the administration defended the policy in court last year despite the objections of pro-immigration activists.

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Samuel Goldman

Samuel Goldman is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. He is also an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, where he is executive director of the John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom and director of the Politics & Values Program. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow in Religion, Ethics, & Politics at Princeton University. His books include God's Country: Christian Zionism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and After Nationalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). In addition to academic research, Goldman's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.