Rights groups urge Congress not to accept 'poison pill' immigration amendments

Published: Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 5:54pm
Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:37am
Audio icon Download mp3 (945.65 KB)

Senate Democrats are preparing a multibillion-dollar health care, climate and tax bill for a floor vote this week. Immigration policy isn’t part of the legislation in its current form, but rights advocates worry that might change during negotiations. 

A letter signed by almost 300 rights groups around the U.S. urges senators to vote no on what they called poison pill anti-immigrant amendments they expect will come up once the package reaches the Senate floor.

At the top of that list are efforts to extend Title 42 — the CDC protocol that restricts asylum at the border because of the pandemic. The public health agency said Title 42 was no longer needed and would roll back in May, but its fate is tied up in court after a federal judge in Louisiana ruled in favor of Arizona and other states trying to force the protocol to stay.

Now, there are several legislative pushes that could further cement the protocol. Congressional Republicans have discussed bills that would codify it into law. Other measures, like one co-introduced by Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, could force Title 42 to remain in place for years by tying it to the public emergency declaration for COVID.