Congressman Henry Kueller signed legislation aimed at preventing the Biden administration from lifting the Title 42 immigration limit, becoming the latest House Democrat to push back against plans to repeal the controversial sanctions.
Kueller, who represents the South Texas border district, has long been one of the most centrist Democrats in Congress, prompting outrage from progressives. He faces a serious primary threat from progressive Jessica Cisneros, who forced him to run out last month in May.
Title 42 allows US Customs and Border Protection to turn away migrants at the border to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This policy was first implemented by former President Donald Trump.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced plans to repeal the order earlier in April, a move that drew criticism from Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
Cuellar explained his decision to oppose the repeal in an interview with Fox News published on Saturday. He warned that if Democrats “do not stand up and do the right thing” during the midterm election in November, they will be hit hard by Republicans.
“But some of us are standing up and saying this is the right thing to do for the border,” Kueller told Fox News. “We all believe in immigration reform, but we don’t want chaos at the border. We want law and order at the border.”
He joined several other centrist Democrats in support of the legislation.
Representatives Tom O’Heller of Arizona, Jared Golden of Maine, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Greg Stanton of Arizona—all of whom represent potentially vulnerable districts—have signed legislation.
Meanwhile, Senators Kristen Cinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and John Tester of Montana have signed similar legislation in the upper house of Congress.
In March, Cuellar held less than 50 percent of the total vote in the Democratic primary, winning only 48.6 percent of Cisneros’ 46.7 percent of the vote. The two are going head-to-head in the May 24 runoff election, when progressives hope to oust them. She has long faced criticism for her positions on abortion and immigration.
He is also facing investigation by the FBI over ties to Azerbaijan.
In November, Republicans will also hope to defeat Kueller in a nearly seven-point win over District President Joe Biden. The district includes parts of southern Texas, including areas near Laredo and San Antonio.
The CDC said it was lifting the measure when it announced that it was “no longer necessary to suspend the right to introduce migrants to the United States” in light of more “tools to fight COVID-19”. in. Progressives have pushed for Biden to end the policy early, saying it could potentially be dangerous for migrants, who could be forced to return home if asylum claims are rejected.
Democratic Representative Jared Golden of Maine, who represents the district Trump won, introduced the bill to the House.
He said in an interview With local news station WABI-TV: “There are not enough people to secure the southern border, and so people are repeatedly working overtime. People who have been assigned to the northern border for some time, They’re suddenly being pulled down there for short-term deployments, and that can really reduce a force over time.”
newsweek reached out to Cuellar’s office for comment.