Biden issues clarification after Title 42, mask mandate question mix up

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President Biden was forced to clarify his response to a question Thursday after he appears to have mixed up the approaching termination of Title 42 with a judge’s decision this week to toss out the CDC’s travel mask mandate.

The Biden administration has announced its plan to terminate Title 42 on May 23, a public health order that has been used since March 2020 to quickly expel a majority of migrants at the border due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to pushback from within his own Democratic Party the White House has reportedly discussed moving back the end of Title 42.

At the conclusion of Biden’s remarks Thursday on additional aid to Ukraine, a reporter asked the president, “Are you considering delaying Title 42?”

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Biden responded, “No, what I’m considering is continuing to hear from my, my — first of all, there’s going to be an appeal by the Justice Department because as a matter of principle, we want to be able to be in a position where if in fact it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42, that we be able to do that. But there has been no decision on extending Title 42.”

Biden issues clarification after Title 42, mask mandate question mix up

President Joe Biden speaks about prescription drug costs at the Daniel Technology Center of Germanna Community College – Culpeper Campus, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Culpeper, Va. 
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

His response resulted in confusion because a spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said that the department filed a notice of appeal of a ruling issued by a Florida judge on Monday which tossed out the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public transportation passengers.

There had been no previous mention that DOJ was involved with Title 42’s approaching rescission. 

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“I want to clarify that, in comments at the conclusion of my remarks this morning, I was referring to the CDC’s mask mandate and there is no Department of Justice action on Title 42,” said a clarifying statement from President Biden to Fox News.

Biden issues clarification after Title 42, mask mandate question mix up

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

However, the president’s statement did not address the question in the first place about whether the president plans to delay the end of Title 42.

In response to that, a White House source directed Fox News to statements made by White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Wednesday’s press briefing.

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“It is a public health authority. Congress gave the CDC authority to make determinations about when it should be lifted. So, right now, we are planning and preparing for the end of Title 42 enforcement on May 23rd. But I would say that there are a range — the president agrees that immigration in our country is broken; it’s a system that is broken.”

Biden issues clarification after Title 42, mask mandate question mix up

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 18, 2022.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“There are a range of ideas out there in Congress — Democrats, Republicans, others — some who support a delay of Title 42 implementation, some who strongly oppose it. And there are a range of other ideas of reforming our immigration system.”

“This would all require congressional action. We’re happy to have that conversation with them,” Psaki concluded.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

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