CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito have introduced a bill that could extend Title 42 and prevent migrants from entering the United States.

An order under Title 42 was implemented during the pandemic to prevent migrants from bringing COVID-19 into the country. The Biden administration has announced its plans to terminate the Title 42 order on May 23, but West Virginia’s senators do not agree with its removal. The Public Health and Border Security Act would require all COVID-related national states of emergency to be lifted before Title 42 is officially terminated.

Manchin had previously argued for the extension of the title due to rising COVID cases worldwide, but according to a release from Senator Capito, her concerns seem related to the southern border crisis rather than COVID-19.

“It’s unacceptable that we face yet another potential influx of migrants at our border in a few short months, said Senator Capito. She continued, “Ending Title 42 only adds to those challenges in a way we simply are not prepared to handle. This bill provides direction, something that is desperately needed in light of the administration’s decision to end Title 42.”

“Ensuring our borders are secure must be a top priority for Congress and the Biden Administration. Title 42 has been an important tool in combating the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border,” Senator Manchin said. 

Manchin also called the bill “commonsense,” saying that he simply wants to extend Title 42 until the end of the pandemic.

Under the bill, Title 42 would not be able to be removed until 60 days after all COVID-19 national emergency declarations are removed. The bill would also give the Department of Homeland Security 30 days to submit a plan to Congress to address the impacts of the post-Title 42 migrant influx.

Manchin and Capito said the bill has bipartisan support among a group of their colleagues.