GOP Senators Re-introduce Bill to Expand Title 42 To Protect Against Drug Smuggling

( – New legislation to include protecting the U.S. from drug smuggling as a health crisis under Title 42 is being re-introduced by a group of Republican senators.

Title 42, which was put into place in March 2020 during Trump’s presidency, gives border agents the authority to swiftly expel migrants at the border during the pandemic that began in 2020. The legislation is scheduled to be ended by the Biden administration on May 11, as well as the public health emergency declared during the pandemic, but now a group of Republican senators is re-introducing the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act after it’s failed to pass three times in 2022.

The new legislation would justify the continued use of Title 42 by adding the prevention of drug smuggling as a reason to expel migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Right now, Title 42 is only for the prevention of communicable disease spread. The GOP senators are being led by Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty.

Title 42 coming to an end is raising concerns among lawmakers, officials, and citizens alike that it will result in an increased surge of migrants at the border while the country is already struggling to deal with the massive amount who have crossed over during Biden’s presidency.

One of the consequences of the Biden administration’s border policies is an increase in human trafficking and drug smuggling, specifically the fentanyl crisis responsible for over 70,000 deaths annually. Fentanyl is fatal even in small doses, and it is mostly produced in Mexico using precursors from China and then smuggled into the U.S. for profit.

The Biden administration is preparing for Title 42’s end by proposing a new rule to make migrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they cross the border illegally before at least attempting to claim asylum in other countries they’ve traveled through previously.

In a statement, Hagerty noted how many Americans die every year from fentanyl, and said it “is unconscionable for Congress to stand aside and do nothing” to preserve Title 42 in order to lessen the impact. “And while I agree that the pandemic is over,” he also said, “there is a new epidemic plaguing our nation” which demands “immediate action.”

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