Tester Backs Bipartisan Bill to Secure Southern Border by Extending Title 42 Authority

Senator has consistently opposed the Biden Administration’s plan to end Title 42 without a comprehensive solution in place to secure our borders

As part of his continued efforts to secure America’s borders and combat the flow of fentanyl to Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced his support for bipartisan legislation that will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain a similar authority to that used under Title 42 to immediately expel certain migrants who attempt to enter the U.S. or illegally cross the border.

Tester’s bipartisan legislation is in direct response to the Biden Administration’s decision to allow Title 42 to expire on May 11th – a decision he has consistently opposed. This legislation would create a new temporary expulsion authority and give DHS more time to put a proper plan in place to deal with the crisis at the southern border. It also provides protections to ensure that migrants are not returned to a place where they would face threats to their life, freedom, or torture, allows for case-by-case exemptions for humanitarian concerns, and includes new provisions to encourage other countries in the region to accept expelled migrants.

“My top priority is defending Montana and keeping our nation safe, plain and simple. That means standing up to anyone, including President Biden, to secure the southern border and to stop the deadly flow of fentanyl into our communities,” said Tester. “I oppose the Biden Administration’s plan to end Title 42 without a real plan in place, which is why I am teaming up with Republicans and Democrats to give DHS the tools they need to get a better handle on the southern border.”

Tester has consistently led the charge to combat fentanyl trafficking in Montana and secure our nation’s borders. Speaking at a Senate Homeland Security hearing last week, Tester pressed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials for answers on the Administration’s plans to send troops to the southern border and expressed concern over the Administration’s lack of preparation ahead of the expiration of Title 42. He also previous introduced the Public Health and Border Security Act to require DHS to implement a proper plan before lifting Title 42. 

Last month, Tester joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce his Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act—legislation that would impose economic sanctions on those engaged in the international trafficking of illicit fentanyl, precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl, or other related opioids, and declare international trafficking of fentanyl as a national emergency. During a recent Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Tester pressed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on combatting Mexican drug cartels and providing law enforcement with additional resources to stop the flow of fentanyl.

In March, Tester continued his push to secure the southern border and stop fentanyl trafficking by calling on the Biden Administration to make additional investments in technology to assist law enforcement in nonintrusive inspections at points of entry. As the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester passed critical provisions in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and the 2023 government funding bill to fund law enforcement and stop fentanyl trafficking along the southern border.