Seventy-four percent of Americans say the Biden administration is not equipped to handle the expected surge in illegal border crossings should it end Title 42, a pandemic-era border restriction put in place by the Trump administration early in the coronavirus pandemic that allows U.S. border officials to turn away migrants who have reached the U.S., according to a CNN poll released Wednesday.
The Biden administration plans to end Title 42 in late May, a decision for which it has faced heavy criticism from both Republicans and Democrats as it will likely lead to a surge in crossings.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday acknowledged that as many as 18,000 migrants could cross the southern border once the policy is lifted.
“Title 42 is a public health authority. So what we started to do in September of last year was prepare for its end. … We’re not projecting 18,000, but what we do in the department is we plan for different scenarios, so we’re ready for anything,” Mayorkas said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
When pressed by host Dana Bash whether the U.S. would be able to handle the surge, Mayorkas said his department would be prepared but acknowledged that the system would be under “extraordinary strain.”
“It is our responsibility to be prepared for different scenarios, and that is what we are doing, and we have incredibly talented and dedicated people. There is no question if in fact we reach that number, that is going to be an extraordinary strain on our system,” Mayorkas said.
“That is why the plan we have prepared calls for a number of different actions, not just in the domestic arena but also with our partners in the south,” he continued.
The survey was conducted by SSRS from April 28 through May 1 among a random national sample of 1,007 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.