White House rejects calls to extend Title 42: 'We have to follow the court order'

White House rejects calls to extend Title 42: 'We have to follow the court order.'

The White House is resisting calls for the administration to find a way to expand the controversial public health authority that has been used to expel immigrants at the US-Mexico border quickly.

The anticipated end of Title 42 — which was invoked under former President Donald Trump to try to contain the spread of Covid-19 and continued by President Joe Biden as the pandemic wanes — has sparked a wave of immigrants arriving in border communities like El Paso, Texas. Some have called on the White House to find a way to extend the controversial policy, and on Monday, the administration faced criticism over its handling of border security.

"We must follow the court's order," said a White House official. "The court is asking us to file it on December 21st. We are required to do so."

Images from the border have alarmed elected officials, some of whom have publicly questioned the Biden administration's willingness and preparations to handle the expected influx of people trying to enter the United States.

Over the weekend, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called on Biden to "use every bit of power he has as an executive to find a way or ask for an extension."

"The president can, I think, ask for that extension," Manchin added. "We need an extension to have a viable answer to this."

The White House official declined to elaborate further when asked if Biden had the authority to secure such an extension.

The White House has insisted that the end of Title 42 does not mean that US borders will suddenly open to everyone - and that there are processes in place to process asylum seekers' claims. The administration also cited the months-long work the Department of Homeland Security has been doing to prepare for the surge of immigrants arriving at the border while calling on Congress to approve the additional funding the administration has requested to manage the situation.

Over the weekend, a federal law enforcement source familiar with daily operations in South Texas said border authorities in the Rio Grande Valley have encountered between 900 and 1,200 immigrants per day over the past two weeks.

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