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Title 42: Is it time to lift the COVID curb on immigration? Three views.

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In this Thursday, June 10, 2021, file photo, a pair of migrant families from Brazil pass through a gap in the border wall to reach the United States after crossing from Mexico to Yuma, Ariz., to seek asylum. Civil rights and refugee relief groups have been urging President Biden to lift a pandemic-related ban on families seeking asylum in the United States. Thousands of migrants have been stuck in Mexico because of Title 42, named for a 1944 public health law. Following a federal court order, the Biden administration has been forced to continue the policy first imposed by President Trump that denies many families and nearly all single adults an opportunity to seek asylum on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia, File)

Today on Midday, we take up an issue that has flummoxed Congress for about as long as gun regulation: that is, immigration, and what to do about the southern border. At the center of the debate is Title 42, a 1940s-era law that allows federal health authorities to prohibit migration into the US to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

The CDC — the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia — invoked Title 42 in March, 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Critics call it “a border-control tool masquerading as a public health order.” The Biden Administration moved to discontinue the policy, but last month, a Louisiana Federal District Judge ordered that the policy stay in place, in part, because the administration had failed to adequately consider how much migration would surge when the policy ends, and the cost to states to provide services to the migrants who are seeking asylum. That ruling is under appeal.

We begin our discussion today with Sheriff Mark Lamb. He has been the Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona since 2017. He is a close ally of former President Trump and a vocal critic of the Biden Administration’s handling of immigration. He is the founder of a group of sheriffs called “Protect America Now,” and he is a self-described “constitutional conservative.”

Later in the hour, Tom gets another perspective on Title 42 from two immigration advocates: Krish Vignarajah, the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Ruben Chandrasekar, the executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Maryland.

All our guests join us on Zoom.

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(L-R) Sheriff Mark Lamb, Pinal County, Arizona; Ruben Chandrasekar, Reg. Dir., International Rescue Committee; Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, CEO, Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service (courtesy photos)

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.