Title 42 Won't Be 86'd | Crooked Media
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May 22, 2022
What A Day
Title 42 Won't Be 86'd

In This Episode

  • A federal judge ruled that the Biden administration could not end a pandemic-related border restriction program known as Title 42. It was set to expire today.
  • The first shipment of infant formula from Europe arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday, one of the first signs of relief to the critical shortage in the U.S. Other shipments are expected later this week, as well, to help ease the burden.
  • And in headlines: millions are now homeless and stranded in India and Bangladesh due to severe weather, the World Health Organization said there are 92 confirmed cases of monkeypox in at least a dozen countries, and Georgia holds its primary elections tomorrow.


Show Notes:

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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, May 23rd. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice, and this is What A Day, where we are congratulating graduates from the class of 2022, from all other years, and everybody else as well.


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, the last two years in particular, I feel like we all deserve a degree.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so true.


Tre’vell Anderson: Shout out to us. On today’s show, the U.S. got a much needed shipment of 78,000 pounds of baby formula from Europe. Plus, we preview Georgia’s primaries, which are tomorrow.


Josie Duffy Rice: But first, on Friday, a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration could not end a pandemic-related border restriction program known as Title 42. That was supposed to be over by today, but the decision made by a Trump-appointed judge in Louisiana is a blow to immigration advocates and to the Biden administration, who recently changed its position on this. They all publicly supported ending the program.


Tre’vell Anderson: All right, Josie So can you remind us what Title 42 actually is?


Josie Duffy Rice: So, yeah, technically, Title 42 has been law for almost 80 years, since the Public Health Service Act of 1944. And it basically gives permission to the government to, quote, “expel people who attempt to cross the border and those who seek asylum in the United States, quote, “by reason of any communicable disease” when there is, quote, “serious danger of the introduction of such disease.” So the law has existed for a really long time, but it became newly relevant in March of 2020 because of COVID-19.


Tre’vell Anderson: That little thing called COVID.


Josie Duffy Rice: Ever heard of it?


Tre’vell Anderson: So tell us, why did this federal judge, Judge Robert Summerhays rule to keep it in place?


Josie Duffy Rice: So basically, it was for bureaucratic reasons. He found that the Biden administration could not actually stop the program because he said they hadn’t allowed the public sufficient chance to comment on the termination of the program, otherwise known as the notice and comment process. And they hadn’t really allowed enough comment before issuing their decision to stop it. And that notice and comment process takes months to complete, so if the judge’s ruling stands, asylum seekers would continue to be subject to this program.


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. So now what effect has Title 42 had on the ground in the two-plus years since COVID?


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, under the policy which both the Trump and Biden administrations have supported up until recently, migrants have been expelled from the US-Mexico border almost 2 million times– just like, a staggering number, right? And it’s worth noting that 1.4 million of those happened under Biden. I use the word expelled and not deported because the fact that it’s an expulsion means that the people affected do not have the right to make a case in front of an immigration judge. In most cases, these expulsions happen within hours and those migrants are not even really processed, right? The fact that there is no opportunity to request asylum expressly contradicts U.S. and international law.


Tre’vell Anderson: And so you said Biden’s administration also use this policy to expel people. In fact, many more people than Trump. But it seems like they also want it to end the program. What changed there?


Josie Duffy Rice: Right, yeah. So there had long been pushed back and pressure on the Biden administration to stop using the pandemic as basically a pretext for violating the rights of these migrants. And it’s worth noting that there were some Democrats who, disappointingly, also pushed Biden to keep the program in place. And then in April, the CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, said that employing Title 42 to expel migrants from the border was no longer necessary because pandemic conditions had improved. And the program, as a result, was set to end today. But then 20 states with Republican attorneys general have filed suit to challenge that decision. And so on Friday, Judge Summerhays ruled in their favor.


Tre’vell Anderson: These Republican attorneys general are at it again. So what now? Where do we go from here?


Josie Duffy Rice: Always. Yeah, I think that sort of remains to be seen, Tre’vell. On Friday, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that quote, “authority to set public health policy nationally should rest with the Centers for Disease Control, not with a single district court.” Still, she said that the administration would comply with the ruling, while also getting ready for Title 42 is, quote, “eventual lifting.” But as we said before, that could be months away.


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Okay. Interesting there. Moving to another story we’re following, some good news for all the parents of WAD babies out there. 78,000 pounds of formula is here. The first shipment of infant formula from Europe arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday, one of the first signs of impending relief to the critical shortage we’ve been experiencing for the last while.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s good news in such a trying time for parents. So remind us, how did we even get here?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, there was already a shortage of infant formula due to the pandemic. This was one of the many industries impacted by supply chain issues, which we’ve covered at length here on WAD. But the situation worsened, announced recently after Abbott Laboratories closed its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, back in February. Abbott Laboratories, for the unaware, is the biggest supplier in the U.S. of Powder Infant Formula. Their brands include Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare, and they voluntarily closed their plant to investigate reports that bacterial infections found in a cluster of infants, two of whom died, were because of the company’s products. Well, according to an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend, Abbott CEO Robert Ford said no connection was found between the company’s products and the ill babies, but the FDA did discover a different bacteria in their plant that could cause severe food-borne illness, primarily in infants. So with the FDA’s oversight and blessing, Abbott is cleaning things up, and they plan to get back into production by the first week of June.


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, that is good news, and also still means at least a few weeks of parents being in this really tough situation.


Tre’vell Anderson: Definitely. The company CEO did apologize, though, for the shortage, saying, quote, “We’re sorry to every family we’ve let down since our voluntary recall exacerbated our nation’s baby formula shortage. We believe our voluntary recall was the right thing to do. We will not take risks when it comes to the health of children.” The company says that it will take about 6 to 8 weeks after they’re back open to see their products back on the shelf.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s means like what, August? I mean, we’re talking about a really long time-end of July, August for parents who are suffering right now. So how will the shipment we just received change things in the meantime?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So 78,000 pounds sounds like a lot. And that’s because it is. That’s a total of more than half a million baby bottles, which will satisfy a lot of stomachs. Here is director of the White House National Economic Council, Brian Deese, talking about the shipment on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday:


[clip of Brian Deese] Because of the actions that we’re taking right now, we’re going to see more formula coming off factory lines, and more formula in stores starting as early as this week. There is a flight that left last night from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany full of formula that will land in Indiana this morning, a specialty-medical grade formula, the type that we most need in this market. Just in that plane flight alone, that will cover about 15% of the overall national volume that we need for that.


Tre’vell Anderson: And there are other shipments expected later this week to further ease circumstances. All of them are part of what’s been dubbed ‘Operation Fly Formula,’ the goal of which is to get a total of 1.5 million bottles worth of formula from Switzerland to Indiana for distribution.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I mean, 15%, it’s definitely a dent in the problem right, but that’s not nearly enough. So this past Saturday, President Biden signed a bill that allows families in the nutrition program known as WIC more freedom in the brand of formula that they can buy with their vouchers. But Tre’vell, even with an issue like this that’s really hard to debate–feeding babies–there are still lawmakers against that idea. Is that right?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So one of the things I especially want to note about some of the political foolishness surrounding this issue is that last week, House GOP leaders were among the 192 Republicans who voted against providing $28 million in aid to the FDA to address the baby formula shortage. Their reasoning is that basically providing the money to the FDA is unnecessary and would do little to actually solve the root of the problem, which they say is a failure of leadership. I will say, though, that one of their critiques has given rise to what might be my new favorite nickname for Biden, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking Republican in the House who also happens to be a new mother, in defending her position, she called Biden “bare shelves Biden.” Now, I don’t give them too much credit, but that made me chuckle and it is as close to a silver lining that I’m going to get.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Somehow I don’t see that one catching on. But . . .


Tre’vell Anderson: You don’t think so?


Josie Duffy Rice: It’ll make us laugh. And then . . .


Tre’vell Anderson: Then we’ll get back to reality.


Josie Duffy Rice: And then we’ll get back to reality, right?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Well, that is the latest for now. We will be back after some add.


[ad break]


Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Tre’vell Anderson: Severe weather in just one week, including heat waves, heavy rain and flooding, have wreaked havoc in India and Bangladesh. And things are only getting worse. Millions of people are now homeless and stranded because train stations, towns, and villages have been completely washed away. More than 60 people have died thus far. Meanwhile, landslides and thunderstorms have left hundreds of thousands more without food, drinking water and electricity. Over the weekend, Al Jazeera reported, quote, “water levels are making it more difficult to evacuate people. The water in some parts is estimated to be at least 15-feet deep.” Devastating weather events are becoming more common in South Asia, and scientists say climate change–surprise, surprise–is to blame. Bangladesh and India are particularly vulnerable because of their close proximity to the Indian oceans, warm tropical water and the Bay of Bengal’s increasing heat waves. The Bangladesh government closed roughly 600 schools and colleges indefinitely, and is using them as shelters. This is the worst flooding Bangladesh’s northeast region has seen in nearly 20 years.


Josie Duffy Rice: That is just absolutely devastating. Impossible to imagine. Turning now to a subject that will hopefully fall out of the news cycle in the next five days and we’ll never discuss it again: monkeypox infections. As of Saturday, the World Health Organization or the WHO said that there are 92 confirmed cases and another 28 suspected cases reported from at least a dozen countries. That includes Canada, Germany, and the U.S.–surprise. Since that announcement, two more countries, Israel and Switzerland, reported cases of their own. Countries are ramping up guidance on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox–a word I never thought I would ever say, yet here I am. President Biden is currently visiting South Korea, and yesterday he acknowledged the threat of monkeypox, saying, quote, “It is something that everybody should be concerned about.”–thank you, because there aren’t enough things to be concerned about so let’s add it to the list. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, confirmed that the U.S. does, in fact, have vaccines to treat a potential outbreak. Meanwhile, scientists are looking into what is causing the rise in infections, but it has been confirmed that transmission occurs from close physical contact with someone who is symptomatic. Symptoms include a fever and swollen lymph nodes and eventually fluid-filled bumps, or pox, on people’s skin.


Tre’vell Anderson: No, thank you.


Josie Duffy Rice: No, thank you. No.


Tre’vell Anderson: The limits of being Trump’s friend will be on full display tomorrow when Georgia holds its primary elections and Trump endorses/former Senator David Perdue probably loses big in the Republican gubernatorial race against the state’s current governor, Brian Kemp. Perdue was trailing Kemp by 32 points in a Fox News poll last week, which is a lot. And this race is an interesting case study because, of any contest this year, it could be the one Trump has put the most of his resources into. He’s held rallies for Perdue and donated $2.4 million to his campaign, and it hasn’t paid off. As usual, Trump’s primary motivator here is spite. He blames Kemp more than anyone for his loss in Georgia in 2020 since Kemp wouldn’t overturn the results there. Perdue has made the fact that he’s not Kemp his main pitch for Trump- friendly voters in the state but that hasn’t been enough, especially as Kemp has used the powers of his incumbency to briefly become a Republican Santa and dole out gifts to voters, like a gas tax holiday and tax refund in the weeks leading up to the election. It doesn’t help that Perdue has an apparent lack of interest in actually winning the election. His own supporters have described his performance as lackluster and distracted, according to The New York Times. And despite being very rich, he has only invested half a million dollars of his own money into the race, compared to the 3.8 million he put into his Senate race in 2020. Whoever wins this race will likely face off against voter advocacy, super hero and probable Democratic nominee for governor, Stacey Abrams, in November.


Josie Duffy Rice: As a Georgia voter, I am pushing for Perdue to lose and then for Kemp to lose. That’d be awesome. The man who pivoted from writing jokes to creating constant chaos, John Mulaney, drew criticism over the weekend for inviting Dave Chappelle to open for him as a surprise guest at a huge standup show in Columbus, Ohio. According to numerous reports from attendees, Chappelle’s 15-minute set touched on his favorite comedic premise, namely being transphobic. One person in the crowd tweeted, quote, “Disheartening to hear a crowd of 12,000 around you, a trans person laughing at transphobic jokes.” In comedy news that’s upsetting in a different way, a wave of iconic castmembers is leaving Saturday Night Live: Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant will all finally have their weekends back. Also departing is Pete Davidson, who turned to his eight seasons on SNL into a launchpad for becoming some kind of human safety blanket for the world’s most famous women when they’re coming out of difficult relationships. I really do not understand inviting Dave Chappelle to open for you. I just think that is such bad judgment right now.


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you know, Josie, comedians are so under attack and have to take a stand, you know, and invite Dave Chappelle to continue doing his foolishness.


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. He is a true underdog compared to the trans community, which has it all. All the power, everything.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, we have all the power. That’s how I got this job. Okay?


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Right. It’s weird that the trans community has all the power and yet Dave Chappelle is opening for John Mulaney.


Tre’vell Anderson: You know.


Josie Duffy Rice: That just feels like a pretty good deal, you know?


Tre’vell Anderson: A pretty good deal, right?


Josie Duffy Rice: Feels like you’re still doing fine, Dave.


Tre’vell Anderson: Nothing is wrong.


Josie Duffy Rice: It feels like you’re still doing fine.


Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, become a human safety blanket like Pete Davidson, and tell your friends to listen.


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading, and not just big checks Trump has given to losing candidates like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


[together] And congrats graduates and non-graduates!


Tre’vell Anderson: yes.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes.


Tre’vell Anderson: You have made a wonderful accomplishment by making it this far, and you’ve got so much further to go.


Josie Duffy Rice: Yes, so much further. You’re here today and hopefully it only gets better, but maybe it only gets worse. Happy Monday.


Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.