Donna Texas facility
Families and unaccompanied alien children enter temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, on March 17, 2021. Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr. / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Congressman Tom O’Halleran has joined a bipartisan effort to prevent the lifting of existing Title 42 immigration restrictions without a plan in place from the Biden Administration to address an expected surge of migrants at the Southern border.

The bill, titled the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022, was introduced Thursday. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema co-introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the Senate.

U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1) represents the city of Maricopa.

The bill would prohibit ending Title 42 until 60 days after formally ending the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration. Within 30 days of ending the public health emergency, the president must submit a plan to process the migrant surge to Congress.

“I have long called for comprehensive immigration reform – investments in 21st century border technology, protections for DREAMers and policies that ensure the safety of families on both sides of our southern border,” said O’Halleran, who represents Maricopa in the 1st Congressional District, in a news release. “That is why I’m joining a bipartisan group to introduce a bill that prevents the Biden Administration from rolling back Title 42 until a concrete plan to deal with the consequences to border communities is proposed and approved.

“Any changes to the current system must be robustly detailed and developed in consultation with local leaders, community advocates, and governmental entities in border states like Arizona,” he continued. “In requiring this concrete plan, we’re working to create a transparent process that will better ensure the health, safety, and humane treatment of kids and families on both sides of our southern border.”

Title 42 is a provision of the Public Health Service Act of 1944. In March 2020, the Trump Administration invoked Title 42 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It prevented migrants presenting themselves at the border for asylum from remaining in the country while their cases were processed. The Biden Administration had largely continued the Trump Administration’s policy but announced that it will begin rolling back the policy in May.