This criticism extended this week to governorships in two southwestern swing states, Arizona and Nevada. Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state and front-runner for the Democratic nomination for governor, called on Biden to reverse his “hasty decision” and said it would be a disaster to repeal Title 42 “without a clear plan to secure our border.”
Republicans, meanwhile, are throwing themselves beyond the question.
“Kelly voted to allow restrictions to be lifted, which will cause a massive new border increase,” a narrator said in the ad. “Say to Senator Kelly: Stop voting for Biden and against Arizona.”
Kelly campaign spokeswoman Sarah Guggenheimer countered by saying the senator “has provided increased border security resources, introduced bipartisan legislation to address the crisis and has stood up to both the Biden administration and her own party to ensure a safe, humane and orderly process at. the border.”
Ask the administration for defense
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN this week that his department has “plans” to counter the expected increase. But he would not elaborate.
“I think we need to be very aware that we are targeting enemies, and these enemies are the cartels and the smugglers, and I will not give them our plans. We will continue our execution, carefully, methodically, in that anticipate different scenarios, “he said.
Vulnerable Democratic lawmakers plan to use a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee with Mayorka next week to distance themselves from the Biden administration’s decision, congressional aides say. They plan to grill the secretary, whose response could provide an insight into how the White House will defend its position.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration is “planning and preparing” for the rollback of Title 42 on May 23, but remains open to talks with lawmakers on immigration reform.
The Democratic split over Title 42 puts candidates in swing states and vulnerable rulers against not just Biden’s White House, but more progressive Democrats and immigration activists.
Michigan Senator Gary Peters, who chairs the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said this week that the Biden administration may have to delay the rollback of Title 42 until a clearer plan to mitigate the flow of migrants at the southern border is in place.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said he understands why his colleagues running for re-election may be willing to go against Biden.
“I think they’re right to ask questions. That’s a very serious question,” said Peters, who is not up for election this year. “Senators need to take a position that they believe is best for their state.”
Criticism across the midway map
Meanwhile, Democratic opposition to the Biden administration’s move has risen above the map of competitive Senate races in the November midterm elections.
“I think there needs to be a little more thought into it. And I do not think we are quite there yet, quite frankly,” Fetterman said in an interview.
The American rep. Conor Lamb, another candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate, told CNN he is a “skeptic” about the planned rollback.
“I will certainly listen to any argument that the administration wants to make,” Lamb said. “But you know the pandemic is not over. That’s why Title 42 went into place was just to try to help control what happened down there in the light of the pandemic and how things can spread and especially with these different variants. ”
In Wisconsin, Democrats hoping to oust Republican Senator Ron Johnson this fall, Biden hampered Title 42.
Lieutenant Mandela Barnes, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and Milwaukee Bucks Director Alex Lasry have all called on the administration to offer a plan to keep both U.S. asylum seekers and residents safe before the public health authority is abolished.
Democratic Senate candidates in red-hot states have also spoken out.
“Ending this policy prematurely without a way forward does nothing to keep Americans safe, support our border patrol agents, protect asylum seekers, or create the comprehensive solution our immigration system needs,” Ryan said.
And retired Marine Lucas Kunce, a top candidate for the Missouri Open Seat, said: “Revoking Title 42 without any real plan is not politics – it’s politics.”
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Priscilla Alvarez, Manu Raju, Paradise Afshar, Andy Rose and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.