A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has introduced legislation to try to keep Title 42 in place at the southern border until a plan is in place to manage the “chaos.”

The Public Health and Border Security Act would require “all COVID-19 related national states of emergency to be lifted before Title 42 is officially terminated. The legislation would also require the U.S. Department of Home-land Security (DHS) to put in place a workable plan to manage the chaos at the border.”

President Joe Biden said earlier this week all Covid-19-related health emergencies will end on May 11.

But records continue to be broken at the border as apprehensions hit 2.4 million during federal fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30.

“It’s unacceptable that we are still experiencing record amounts of illegal crossings at our southern border, but I am encouraged that a bipartisan group of senators realize the path this administration is taking is dangerous and untenable,” Capito said in Friday's announcement. 

Title 42 was implemented in early 2020 after a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent migrants from entering the country as a measure to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Biden also tried to end Title 42 in May 2022, but courts blocked it at that time.

Manchin said if a plan to handle the extra surge anticipated after May 11 is not in place by then, the provisions of Title 42 must continue.

“The immigration crisis at our southern border threatens to overwhelm our broken immigration system,” he said Friday. 

Capito has consistently criticized the Biden administration for lack of action on having deterrents in place at the border to discourage migrants from coming in the first place.

One of the first things she would do is to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy that was in place during the Trump administration, she said in a virtual interview last month.

Capito said that would mean getting information from those seeking asylum but then sending them back into Mexico while their information is being processed and vetted.

Two weeks ago, Biden paid his first visit to the border since becoming president.

Both Capito and Manchin have said a comprehensive immigration bill is necessary to address the decades-old issues there, but the border must be secure first.

Capito said she does not know if the will of Congress or the president is there to make it happen, but something must be done, especially considering the amount of deadly fentanyl crossing the border.

In a virtual press briefing last month, Manchin said a 2013 bipartisan immigration bill he championed should be revisited.

The $42 billion bill included 900 miles of strategically placed border wall and enhanced security at ports of entry. It also included a pathway forward for people who were here illegally.

“We had 68 Democrats and Republicans who voted for it in the Senate and we sent it over to the House,” he said, but the more conservative, Republican-controlled House shot it down because of the pathway to citizenship, which the “hardcore right” saw as amnesty.

The bill would have required anyone coming in illegally to pay a fine for crossing the border, be issued a number designation (similar to a Social Security number) and “get in the back of the line” to be processed to become a citizen, Manchin said.

In this process, they would be tracked to make sure they were meeting requirements.

Companies could only hire those who are registered.

“They would have to learn English, get a job and pay taxes or they would be exported,” he said. “Anybody that had a criminal record would be gone immediately.”

It is a plan that would work, he said, and members of both parties in the Senate supported it.

Manchjn said more of his colleagues may now have an appetite to again consider a comprehensive immigration bill.