Sen. Maggie Hassan raised new questions about her stance on illegal immigration by seeming to reverse course on a Biden border policy in just 24 hours.
At question is Title 42 authority, first put into place by President Donald Trump in 2020, allowing Border Patrol agents to immediately turn away people who are arrested trying to enter the country illegally as well as those seeking asylum at border crossings.
The Biden administration has announced its plan to end Title 42 next month, despite expectations that doing so will result in an even larger surge at the border than already underway. More than 2 million undocumented immigrants have been caught crossing the border since Biden took office. February had the highest number of border apprehensions in 22 years.
Hundreds of thousands more illegal immigrants are believed to have successfully made their way into the U.S. during that same period.
On Sunday, Hassan told WMUR she opposed Biden’s plan to end Title 42 authority. “We need to be pushing the administration more to really listen to the frontline personnel and make sure that we have in place the technology, the barriers, the personnel to really deal with what we are going to see surging at the border,” Hassan said. “Especially if they go ahead, against the recommendation of many of us and remove the Title 42 authority.”
On Tuesday, however, Hassan joined virtually every Democrat and voted against Republican efforts to force a vote on an amendment to a $10 billion COVID bill reinstating Title 42 restrictions.
“Once again, Maggie Hassan says one thing in New Hampshire but votes another way in D.C.,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told NHJournal. “Yesterday’s vote makes clear that Maggie Hassan supports Joe Biden’s reckless border policies 100 percent of the time.”
Then on Wednesday came news Hassan is joining a group of five Democratic and six Republican senators proposing a bill to block the Biden administration from lifting the Title 42 rules until the White House develops a plan “addressing any possible influx of migrants.”
Hassan’s office declined to comment on her vote or the new proposal. [Editor’s note: Hassan has instructed the taxpayer-funded employees in her public information office not to respond to requests for comment from New Hampshire Journal.]
In the past, Hassan has repeatedly said, “We must have secure borders,” and she points to legislation she has backed like the Border Response Resilience Act. But instead of funding a border wall or deportations of illegal immigrants in the U.S. –both of which Hassan opposes — it gives $1 billion for “food, clothing, blankets, and transportation for unaccompanied children and family members,” according to Hassan.
Hassan also opposes the “Remain in Mexico” policy ended by Biden that border security experts say is a key reason for the current border crisis.
The Republicans running in the GOP U.S. Senate primary have all called out Hassan over her voting record on illegal immigration.
“Hassan’s flip-flops are out of control,” tweeted former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith Wednesday night. “Monday — Hassan supports Title 42. Tuesday — Votes against an amendment to preserve it. Today– Hassan says she supports it again. No principles – all gimmicks.”
State Sen. Chuck Morse (R-Salem) released a statement mocking Hassan’s upcoming visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“One doesn’t need to visit the southern border to understand how Maggie Hassan’s support of disastrous immigration and border policies have threatened our national sovereignty and caused an influx in illegal immigration into our country,” Morse said. “Maggie’s photo-ops won’t solve the crisis her voting record helped create.”
Retired Gen. Don Bolduc also dismissed Hassan’s border stance as a “gimmick.”
“After a year of open and neglected border policies and standing lockstep with a White House refusing to address the problem, Sen. Hassan is getting nervous,” Bolduc said.