Senate Democrat hopefuls join incumbents in breaking with Biden plan to end Title 42 enforcement

Democrats heading into the midterm have taken note of the unpopularity of the Biden Administration's latest border policy move.

Democrats running for or considering a 2022 Senate bid are joining Democratic incumbents in calling for the Biden administration to devise a more detailed plan to deactivate the immigration-related federal rule known as Title 42, fearing a surge of illegal migrants at the southern U.S. border.

Politico reported Tuesday that half-a-dozen Senate candidates have broken with the administration decision to end Title 42 next month. The decades-old rule was used by the Trump administration at the start of the pandemic to expel migrants seeking asylum. 

"We should not end Title 42 until we have a detailed plan in place," said John Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor and the state Democrat party's expected Senate nominee. 

Their public concerns about ending Title 42 on May 23 come amid low job-approval numbers for President Biden, making it difficult for them to support his policies as voters go the polls in primaries and in the General Election in November. 

"It is not the right time to lift this policy, especially without a plan in place to deal with a potential influx in migrants," a spokesperson for North Carolina Senate candidate Cheri Beasley told Politico.

In Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock is competing for a first full-term, a spokesperson recently said the progressive Democrat does "not support lifting Title 42 at this time."

He is, however, reviewing a bipartisan Senate bill to delay the lifting of the rule, as a record number of immigrants were reported last month to have arrived at the southwest border, amid seasonal migration patterns.

Customs and Border Protection encountered 221,303 migrants along the southwest sector in March. The most recent peak the agency encountered was over 200,000 migrants in July 2021, according to Yahoo News.

Incumbent Democratic senators in swing-seats including Mark Kelly, of Arizona, and Maggie Hassan, of New Hampshire, each have signed the legislation. 

Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, a Democrat looking to unseat GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, says, "We must have an understanding of a comprehensive plan that will deal with an influx of asylum seekers before any changes to Title 42 are made."

Wisconsin state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, another primary contender, concurs.

"There needs to be a plan, and right now it doesn’t look like the administration has one," she said. "Until there is a plan, for the safety of our citizens and those seeking asylum, they should not lift it."

Mandela Barnes, the Wisconsin Democrat leading the Senate primary field, has also come out against the repeal of Title 42.

"There's not a detailed plan in place so that we can keep asylum seekers and people in the country safe," the progressive candidate recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'd like to see Biden put forward a comprehensive plan that deals with an influx of asylum seekers before we lift Title 42."

In addition, the Democratic senator in charge of getting party members elected and reelected to the chamber is backing the candidates' raising of concerns.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Gary Peters said this week that senators and Senate hopefuls "are right to raise questions" about the administration's move. Peters, of Michigan, also leads the Senate Homeland Security committee, so this issue is entirely within his purview.