ABC’s GMA Keeps Viewers in the Dark on Biden Axing COVID Rule at the Border

March 31st, 2022 1:25 PM

UPDATE, 6:58 p.m. Eastern: After this story was published, ABC's World News Tonight decided to come through Thursday and acknowledge Title 42, but like NBC, they did so almost exclusively through the lens of Ukrainian refugees and how they had received exemptions to the COVID-19-related rule.

Correspondent Will Carr, however, didn't mention that it's likely to end soon and that was, in part, why the migrant camps on the Mexico side of the border have grown:

Ukrainians have been able to enter the U.S. under an exemption to title 42, a federal policy that's put a halt to asylum requests at the border because of the pandemic. Now, there are more people showing up than can be processed. Tonight, with this bus station and block packed with Ukrainians, there are still far more migrants from other countries here in Tijuana. And because of Title 42, the city's shelters are jam-packed, and that's a big concern, because everybody believes that this camp is only going to get bigger.


This week, word trickled out that the Biden administration would move ahead with long-rumored plans to let Title 42 end, which was a COVID-19 rule implemented by the Trump administration to expel most illegal immigrants to prevent the spread of the virus. But with future illegal immigrants set to storm the U.S.-Mexico border in what would be yet another “Biden Border Crisis,” ABC’s flagship morning and evening newscasts have wanted nothing to do with this news.

With ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) and World News Tonight out to lunch, CBS and NBC shows at least alluded to it, combining for three minutes and 35 seconds over Tuesday and Wednesday.

In NBC’s case, they framed it as affecting Ukrainians who’ve decided to fly to Mexico and cross into the country that way (instead of being among the 100,000 set aside by the White House).



Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News had a full story on what anchor Lester Holt described as the plight of Ukrainians “overcoming obstacles at the U.S. border that impact all asylum seekers.” Correspondent Antonia Hylton interviewed one such family and their repeated attempts to be allowed into the U.S.

Hylton and immigration attorney Blaine Bookey explained how Ukrainains fit into Title 42 and how an end to the policy would, to put it mildly, spark an influx (click “expand”):

HYLTON: The U.S. border is still officially closed to asylum seekers because of Title 42, a public health policy put in place during the Trump administration that remains under President Biden, denying entry due to COVID. On her third attempt to enter, Attorney Blaine Bookey who was working with a Haitian child saw Sofia and helped her get an exemption.

BOOKEY: Every single day that passes, it becomes more and more absurd for the administration to claim that Title 42 has any basis whatsoever in public health.

HYLTON: For months, the administration has been under pressure to end Title 42. Immigration advocates hope it will be lifted in early April restoring the asylum process for all refugees.

BOOKEY: What I’m very worried about is all of the families just like Sofia’s from Haiti, Cameroon, El Salvador, other countries that are languishing.

HYLTON: Officials expect an immediate uptick in refugees trying to enter. Many are waiting in shelters along the border hoping to make an asylum claim as soon as the policy ends.

Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez brought up Title 42 on the following day’s Nightly News, saying at the end of a report from Lviv , Ukraine that ending the rule by May “would make it easier for immigrants, including those fleeing Ukraine, to come to the U.S.” and “[o]fficials...are anticipating a surge when the policy lifts.”

Of course, both reports (as well as those we’ll see below) showed the media’s liberal bias and affinity for open borders as they refused to frame those crossing the border as having done so illegally.

CBS picked up on the story during Wednesday’s Evening News thanks to White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe, who put things in bigger terms by saying the end of the pandemic rule (which, as independent journalist Ali Bradley and Fox’s Bill Melugin have shown, wasn’t uniformly enforced) “could lead to a record surge of migrants trying to cross the southern border.”

On Thursday, CBS Mornings had a 30-second brief from co-host and Democratic Party donor Gayle King:

Back here in the U.S., CBS News has learned that the Biden administration is planning to end a Trump-era immigration policy, it's called Title 42. It allowed authorities at the U.S../Mexico border to rapidly turn away migrants and asylum seekers, citing the public health risk of spreading COVID. The policy, which is set to end in late May, impacted more than 1.7 million people in the last two years. The Biden White House is planning for multiple scenarios including a potential new influx of migrants at the southern border.

“Planning for multiple scenarios?” Leave it to King to take Biden talking points and run them without skepticism.

ABC’s top newscasts saw no reason to mention this change that will affect the makeup of border towns and further stress on relief agencies, GMA teased new music from Harry Styles and World News Tonight touted rumors Tiger Woods could play at The Masters.

But speaking of ABC, their overnight shows America This Morning and World News Now acknowledged the news about Title 42 with one news brief on Wednesday and two more Thursday (click “expand”):

ANDREW DYMBURT [on America This Morning, 03/30/22]: U.S. officials are bracing for up to 18,000 migrants to arrive per day at the southern border if a Trump-era law is lifted. A CDC review of Title 42, which allows people to be turned away in the name of public health, is set to end today.


DYMBURT [on World News Now, 03/31/22]: Sources say the Biden administration is moving forward with plans to lift the Trump-era immigration rule known as Title 42. Now, the policy gives the government authority to expel migrants at the southern border because of the pandemic. Ending Title 42 could trigger a surge of 18,000 migrants crossing into the U.S. every day. It could be repealed in late May.


MONA KOSAR ABDI [on America This Morning, 03/31/22]: Sources say the Biden administration is moving forward with plans to end the Trump-era immigration rule known as Title 42. The rule gives the government authority to expel migrants at the southern border because of the pandemic. Lifting Title 42 is expected to trigger a surge of up to 18,000 migrants crossing into the U.S. every day. The rule is expected to be lifted in May.