Hagerty Seeks GAO Opinion Whether Biden Attempt to Terminate Migrant Protection Protocols is Subject to the Congressional Review Act

February 16, 2022

If CRA applies, Congress could vote to reject Administration’s termination of the successful border security policy

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, sent a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States, who heads the Government Accountability Office (GAO), seeking an opinion regarding whether the Congressional Review Act (CRA) applies to a directive issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). 

As Hagerty notes in his letter, MPP created a successful program that requires that persons who arrive in the United States by land from Mexico without a legal basis for U.S. entry remain in Mexico—rather than being released into the United States—while their asylum claims are adjudicated. The Biden Administration is seeking to terminate this commonsense policy, which would result in migrants being released into the United States, rather than returned to Mexico, while it is determined whether they are legally permitted to enter the U.S. 

The CRA allows Congress to oversee the federal regulatory process for implementing legislation by allowing it to revoke, through a resolution of disapproval, certain rules that substantively affect the American people. When an agency fails to submit to Congress a policy that constitutes a rule under the CRA—as is the case with the DHS policy at issue—a member of Congress may request that GAO issue an opinion regarding whether the rule should have been submitted to Congress. If GAO finds that the policy should have been submitted to Congress because it constitutes a rule, then such rule can be brought before Congress for a vote under expedited procedures.

“Given the record-setting numbers of border crossings that continue and the resulting effects upon federal, state, and local governments and the American people, it is important that Congress have the opportunity to timely consider the Memorandum under the provisions of the CRA, if they apply,” Hagerty wrote.

Almost exactly one year ago, Hagerty wrote to President Biden urging him not to terminate MPP because of the damaging consequences that would inevitably result. Following a record number of illegal border crossings in FY2021, coupled with a drastic decrease in deportations, it is time for the Biden Administration to reconsider this senseless decision that only encourages more illegal immigration.

For a copy of Hagerty’s letter to GAO, click here.