Local Government

Ranking Member Correa Hearing Statement: “Examining DHS’ Failure to Prepare for the Termination of Title 42”

Rewatch Today’s Hearing HERE

Today, Ranking Member Correa (CA-46), the top Democrat on the House Border Security and Enforcement Subcommittee, led his Democratic colleagues during the Subcommittee’s first hearing of the 118th Congress, entitled: “Examining DHS’ Failure to Prepare for the Termination of Title 42.” 

You can rewatch today’s hearing: https://www.youtube.com/live/h7adzdKLgBs?feature=share

You will find below Ranking Member Correa’s opening statement, as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. Thank you, Chairman Higgins, for holding this important hearing on Title 42, its termination, and the aftermath.

It’s important to start by looking back over the last few years to see where we’ve been. And we need to look at where we are and look forward to seeing what we need to prepare for. Chairman, we’ve dealt with COVID-19. America spent trillions in fighting COVID. And as a nation, we have done pretty well in the aftermath.

In fact, our economy is doing so well that we have a record-low unemployment rate and worker shortages. This is happening while the rest of the world’s economies are stumbling. Even China, the second-largest economy in the world, is stumbling.

Mr. Chairman, I’d like to submit for the record two articles talking about China and its post covid-19 pandemic woes. What we have now is a worldwide refugee crisis like the world has never seen. There are more displaced. individuals than there were in World War II – about 60 million then. Today, the number is much greater.

This chart from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, shows the number of displaced persons, those in need of international protection, and asylum seekers in the Americas. You can see countries across the region are experiencing unprecedented numbers. This is not America’s problem; it’s the world’s challenge.

Mexico is dealing with refugees within its borders. Canada has issues as well. Guatemala is feeling the stress of refugees. Europe is also feeling the stress. Further south, Columbia is hosting about 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees. Refugees are braving terrible conditions to find safety and opportunity.

 I’d like to show this picture of a little girl struggling to continue on in the Darian Gap to show just some of the conditions refugees are willing to overcome to find safety. If they are willing to endure this, we can only imagine what home must be like.

So, when we look at the post-Covid world, let’s look at the challenge ahead of us as a nation.

Let me start by saying that Title 42 was a pandemic policy supposedly intended to protect the public from COVID-19. The party in charge of the House of Representatives voted to end the Covid-19 pandemic health emergency. Thus, my Republican colleagues voted to lift Title 42.

And let me say, I agree with them. Title 42 should not be used as an immigration or border management tool.

I’m looking forward to hearing from our witnesses about recent encounter numbers. I ask that as you talk about the numbers, you keep in mind the current challenge of worldwide migration. This is not going away, and this issue will require a long-term perspective.

 While we heard a lot of fear about what might happen post Title 42, the number of migrants we are seeing at the border actually dropped. We were told just last week that there is now significant capacity available in Border Patrol facilities. It’s clear this Administration has taken extensive steps to prepare for the end of Title 42.

I visited CBP facilities across the southern border in the months leading up to the end of Title 42. And I visited the border in San Diego just days after it ended. On every trip I made, I would ask the officers and agents, “Are we prepared for May 11th? Are we prepared for when Title 42 ends?” They would say, “Yes, we are prepared. But there is the great unknown, and we continue to prepare for all possible scenarios.”

They did the best they could, and they were ready.

It wasn’t just CBP. It was DHS, the State Department, and this Administration more broadly. And it looks like they did a pretty good job. In those first few days after Title 42 ended, encounter numbers dropped by more than half.

In fact, if you look at this chart, these are the numbers reported publicly by Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, showing more than a 50% drop in encounters since the ending of Title 42. That significant drop in the chart is when Title 42 ended.

Numbers remain significantly lower than what they were seeing earlier this Spring, despite the fact that numbers normally increase at this time of year. Yet this hearing is entitled “Examining DHS’ Failure to Prepare for the Termination of Title 42.” It’s an interesting title.

I’d like to recap some of the actions this Administration took to prepare. The Administration is opening Regional Processing Centers, which CBP agents have told me will be incredibly helpful in managing the capacity and processing individuals at the ports of entry. The Administration created legal pathways for Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans to enter the United States legally. 

The Administration sent activity duty military personnel to help with logistics and surged additional resources from DHS to manage increased encounters. The Administration expanded access to the CBP One app and increased efforts to combat misinformation and stop transnational criminal organizations and smugglers from taking advantage of vulnerable migrants and those who seek to traffic drugs into the U.S.

While I disagree with some of the consequences put in place, our border was not overwhelmed following the end of Title 42. Again, we’ve seen a significant decrease in encounters at the border. There is still more we can do to improve our border security and reform our immigration system.

 We need to be prepared if numbers do increase in the future. Because this isn’t a short-term challenge. We need to come up with more incentives for refugees to apply for admission to the United States before approaching our borders. We have to refocus on the economies of the world that have been devastated, with particular attention to our North American continent and our neighbors to the south.

And, of course, we have to address immigration reform and the demand for workers in an economically vibrant American economy.

 I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on the state of the border following the expiration of Title 42 and welcome any suggestions they have.


ABOUT LOU: Congressman Lou Correa is a longtime Orange County resident with deep local roots. To this day, he lives only three miles from his childhood neighborhood in Anaheim. He is the son of working-class parents whose hard work gave him a chance at success and who has spent his career fighting to protect the American Dream and ensure anyone can reach the middle class, just as he did. In 2016, Lou was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to continue his work by representing the community he has spent the past 20 years serving, fighting to give everyone access to the same opportunity he had. Congressman Correa is committed to working across party lines to strengthen the middle class and give everyone a shot at the American Dream by investing in education, healthcare, and our fading infrastructure, and has introduced legislation to protect the legal rights of immigrants, care for veterans, and fight against the wasteful spending of taxpayer money.