DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID concerns led the government to block a lot of asylum seekers and expedite deportations.
President Joe Biden is planning to end that system soon.
That’s causing concern in some people about a flood of immigration and Senator Mark Kelly went to Douglas to learn more about the impact.
The immigration system was already jammed with a backlog of asylum seekers waiting for hearings on whether they are allowed into the U.S.
President Biden has now set Monday, May 23 as the date to remove Trump-era restrictions known as Title 42. Title 42 is actually a CDC rule designed to reduce the chance of more cases of COVID-19 entering from Mexico.
It’s effect may make it harder to enter the country when applying for asylum.
Senator Mark Kelly says it’s easy to see lifting Title 42 will lead to a surge of immigrants, but he does not see any sign of a plan to handle the surge.
"I warned them about this months ago, talking to CBP about it and the Department of Homeland Security, and they do not have a plan in place on how to deal with the increased numbers. And it's going to be ... to be honest, it's going to be a crisis on top of a crisis.” ~Senator Mark Kelly
Sen. Kelly says he needs to see a plan for everything from buses for moveing migrants, to places to house them, to more judges hearing their asylum requests.
He's pushing legislation to postpone lifting Title 42 until those plans exist.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR SENATOR KELLY'S COMPLETE STATEMENT
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.