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Democrat Katie Hobbs changes views, says lifting Title 42 “would be a disaster”

Arizona governor Katie Hobbs talks immigration policies of President Biden.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 7:05 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 7:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Democratic frontrunner for governor is now humming a different tune on immigration. In the span of three weeks, Katie Hobbs went from claiming Title 42 doesn’t work to warning that lifting it would lead to disaster.

President Donald Trump’s administration enacted the policy at the peak of the pandemic which gives federal authorities the power to quickly turn away migrants at the border. President Joe Biden’s plans to roll back Title 42 by the end of May have drawn fierce criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats. Lifting the policy, the Department of Homeland Security projected, could lead to a surge in border crossings as high as 18,000 per day.

When asked in early April if she supported the President’s goal of ending the practice next month, Hobbs said, “Title 42 isn’t working.” At the time it appeared Hobbs was splitting with Arizona’s two Democratic Senators, Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, who asked the president to reconsider. But over the weekend, Hobbs told CNN that Biden should reverse his “rash decision,” adding that dropping Title 42 “without a clear plan to secure our border would be a disaster.”

Her comments put her in line with Kelly and Sinema who have made nearly the same comments in recent weeks. A spokesman for the Hobbs campaign said CNN didn’t run the entire statement, which sought to add more clarity to her previous comments. “Title 42 isn’t working as evidenced by the fact that border crossings in Arizona have continued to increase since the policy was put in place,” Hobbs said in the statement given to the cable news network.

The statement then urged Biden to change course. Hobbs’ Republican rivals weren’t buying it. Instead of adding clarity and context, the three top Republican contenders for governor slammed Hobbs for flipping her position. “Her reversal today is transparently political and disingenuous, but I will not allow her to walk away from her own words,” businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson said in a statement.

Over the past week, Taylor Robson has spent big money on TV ads taking it to Hobbs over Title 42. Matt Salmon, the former GOP congressman, issued his own statement on what he called Hobbs’ “Humiliating Reversal.” “Twenty days after rubber-stamping Joe Biden’s reckless decision on Title 42, Katie Hobbs is now claiming that she never said what we all watched her say on television,” Salmon said.

Former local television news anchor, Kari Lake, posted on Twitter that, “(Hobbs) is spinning so hard on Title 42, that even I’m getting dizzy,” In polls, immigration consistently ranks among the top set of issues with voters, particularly Republicans. Longtime pollster, Paul Bentz, said Democratic candidates need to be careful on how they approach border issues.

Although he hasn’t specifically polled Title 42, Bentz said voters would roundly reject any policy that could potentially boost the number of border crossings. “No candidate running for statewide office can afford to be perceived as soft on immigration going into November of 2022,” Bentz said in an interview with Arizona’s Family.