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Hassan and Pappas fight to preserve Trump-era policy that helped deport thousands of migrants

A photo of a fence with barbed wire at the top of it is in the background as Sen. Hassan, in a cap and blue shirt, stands in front of it.
"The administration needs to address certain gaps in physical barriers along the border that would be very easy to address but are posing a real challenge for our Border Patrol Agency," Sen. Maggie Hassan said in a video posted to Twitter.

Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas are among a handful of Congressional Democrats fighting to preserve a Trump administration policy implemented during the pandemic that empowers Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants for public health reasons without allowing them to seek asylum.

Title 42 is a CDC regulation, which is slated to end May 23. Hassan and Pappas are backing separate pieces of legislation that aim to keep the restrictions in place until 60 days after the Surgeon General formally rescinds the COVID-19 public health emergency.

While Pappas’s support for the policy has, so far, remained low-profile, Hassan took her fight to keep Title 42 in effect all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border, where she met with customs and border agents.

“The administration needs to address certain gaps in physical barriers along the border,” Hassan stressed in a video her office shot of her standing by a border wall in Nogales, Arizona.

“I’m going to keep pushing the administration to develop a really strong strategic plan for how we will secure our border when Title 42 is lifted and I’m going to keep pushing them to delay lifting Title 42,” Hassan said.

Hassan’s visit to the border and her loud embrace of policies many in her party oppose drew immediate notice.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee dubbed Hassan “Maga Maggie” for her support for a Trump-era border policy,

Many Democrats were, meanwhile, appalled.

“It was a slap in the face,” said Eva Castillo, a longtime advocate for immigrants and refugees, who was one of several members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party Latino Caucus to resign over Hassan’s and Pappas’s support of legislation to preserve Title 42, in a scathing letter to State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

“This was a statement of disgust. I don’t want to be part of machinery that doesn’t respect us,” Castillo added.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party declined to comment.

Corrected: April 13, 2022 at 7:31 PM EDT
This post was updated to reflect that Sen. Hassan was not wearing a U.S. Customs baseball hat.

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