Arizona sheriff says Title 42 migrant surge hype is overblown

Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway thinks fears over Title 42 expiring are overblown, but he does agree with top AZ Dems that the White House isn't ready.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 9:01 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway downplayed on Thursday some of the concerns around the end of the COVID-19 pandemic-era border policy known as Title 42 and the impact it will have in Nogales. “It reminds me of Y2K,” he said. “Like the sky is falling, the world is going to come to an end. All we’re going to do is go back to normal Title 8 processing. This is nothing novel or nothing new, and I think all the hype is unwarranted.”

The policy suspended all asylum cases for the past three years, rejecting millions of migrants in the name of stopping the spread of COVID-19. However, there have been worries that ending the policy will cause an influx of asylum seekers that Arizona and other border states aren’t ready to handle.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office says it’s seeing human traffickers take U.S. 60 to avoid all the law enforcement patrolling along Interstate 10

But for Hathaway, he’s not seeing a surge. When talking to Arizona’s Family political reporter Dennis Welch, he didn’t seem too concerned about the end of Title 42. He is frustrated with how the Biden administration is handling it. He joined Rep. Ruben GallegoSen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Mark Kelly, who are worried the White House isn’t prepared. Sinema introduced legislation on Thursday that would essentially extend Title 42 for another two years.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has reportedly sent 1,500 troops to the border to work in backup roles to prepare for a possible influx of migrants once the policy ends. Hathaway said he has had no communication with the president’s team about those plans, and he admitted he’s frustrated. “It’s kind of shocking to me that they’re talking again about sending troops to the border. Nobody’s contacted me officially. I’ve only heard this through press releases that the Biden administration is sending 1,500 troops to the border. I don’t know if they’re sending them to my part of the border or Texas, New Mexico or California. This is something that is being rolled out without any communication or coordination with local officials,” he said.

Instead of troops, Hathaway said he’d like to see more immigration officials help speed up processing for asylum seekers. So far, we haven’t heard from Gov. Katie Hobbs on how she plans to respond to the end of Title 42. However, her staff told Welch that Hobbs is expected to make some announcement, likely on Monday or Tuesday.