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Capito, Manchin team on immigration bill, split on Jackson Supreme Court vote

MORGANTOWN – Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin joined forces on an immigration bill on Thursday, while taking opposite sides on the vote to confirm Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

The bill is the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022, co-sponsored by Capito and Manchin and a bipartisan group of senators. It’s intended to block the Biden plan to end the Trump administration Title 42 policy by May 23. The policy was intended to stop the spread of COVID by permitting the Border Patrol to turn away arrested illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

They summarized the bill in a joint release. It would prevent the administration from ending the Title 42 emergency authority until at least 60 days after ending the COVID-19 national emergency declaration. After the end of the national emergency, the Department of Homeland Security would have 30 days to submit to Congress a plan to address the impacts of the post-Title 42 migrant influx. That plan must be made in coordination with local governments, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations on the front-lines of the migrant crisis.

Capito commented on the issue during a Thursday press conference. The Border Patrol is apprehending 6,000 to 8,000 people a day, she said, and the Department of Homeland Security estimates that could jump to 18,000 a day when Title 42 lifts.

“This will move from a crisis to a catastrophe at our southern border,” she said. She met with the DHS secretary about it. “They have ideas but they don’t have a plan and its very very discouraging.”

West Virginians understand we are a nation of immigrants, she said, but we are also a nation of law. Biden’s policies offer no deterrence and his catch-and-release approach is toothless because no one is required to return for their hearings. The Border Patrol will be burdened with processing 18,000 people a day and won’t be able to pay attention to drug trafficking.

Manchin said in their joint release: “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.”

He said in a separate release last week: “We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place.”

Jackson vote

The Senate confirmed Jackson’s nomination Thursday in a 53-47 vote with three Republicans crossing over.

Capito voted against her but said, “I congratulate her. I think its quite an achievement.”

She repeated her reasons for her vote. One, “Her judicial philosophies don’t match mine.”

Jackson is not an originalist. Capito said Jackson has a more expansive view of the Constitution. She said previously that Jackson has suggested that she supports the ability of the court to “discover” unenumerated rights that go beyond the original intent of the Constitution, which would turn the Supreme Court into an activist, quasi-legislative body.

Capito also said Jackson has issued decisions that reflect Jackson’s political leanings rather than the law, particularly in the area of balance of power and executive overreach.

Manchin said in Thursday’s release, “Judge Jackson’s record and career are exemplary. She has shown tremendous grace through what has been a difficult confirmation process and has proven without a doubt that she has the temperament and credentials to serve on our nation’s highest court. In doing so, she has bravely paved the way so future generations may follow in her footsteps.

“In addition to her outstanding qualifications,” Manchin said, “Judge Jackson has a special connection to our beloved state of West Virginia. She shares West Virginians’ deep commitment to public service, love of family and pride of country. While I am under no illusions that I will agree with every vote Justice Jackson casts on the court, I am confident she will make an exceptional jurist.”

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