HUDSON: End of mask mandates backed by science, will of the American people

A pedestrian removes a protective mask worn as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus in Philadelphia, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

President Ronald Reagan warned us about the dangers of government overreach when he spoke these words back in 1981. Unfortunately, many of those in power today fail to heed them.

Last Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down President Joe Biden’s travel mask mandate, effectively ending mandates on public transportation. This was a momentous decision and a major victory in the fight to end all mask mandates nationwide. The ruling was met with great excitement and numerous airlines, businesses, and localities lifted their mask requirements almost immediately. This includes places like Concord, which announced only a day later that face masks would no longer be required at Concord-Padgett Regional Airport, the Rider Transit Center, or while riding the bus. On some flights, some people even cheered loudly as the change was announced over the loudspeaker. 

This was a long-overdue decision backed by science and the will of the American people. However, as quick as the ruling came out, so did President Biden’s counterattack. 

Just three days after the mandate was revoked, Biden’s Justice Department announced it would appeal the decision on the grounds of protecting public health. However, this appeal would not do anything to improve American public health. 

I have been a vocal advocate for lifting unnecessary mask mandates for some time. In February, I led the successful fight against mask mandates on our children in Cumberland County schools. I also cosponsored the Unmask Our Kids Act to direct education funding only to school districts that provide in-person learning and optional masks. 

Despite insisting that mask mandates are still needed to protect American public health, Biden remains committed to repealing Title 42 public health protections at our southern border. Title 42 is a common sense regulation that gives government officials the authority to quickly turn around migrants at the southern border to protect health. Since its implementation in March 2020, it has played an integral role in stemming the flow of illegal migration. Repealing it now would only make the border crisis worse.

Last week, we learned there were 221,303 migrant encounters at our southern border in March. This is a 33% increase from the month prior and the highest monthly total of Biden’s presidency. Unfortunately, this is not a surprising trend, as illegal crossings have risen nearly every month since Biden took office. If Title 42 is revoked, the Department of Homeland Security estimates up to 18,000 migrants per day will illegally enter our country. This would overwhelm our border patrol agents, as well as deepen the humanitarian, national security, and public health crises we are already experiencing.

We need policies that actually protect the health and security of Americans. Securing our border is fundamental to this. We must also finish construction of the border wall, increase funding to border patrol, reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy, and maintain Title 42 protections.

Whether they are appealing or repealing, President Biden and Washington Democrats continue to promote a far-left agenda over the well-being of American families. Yet you deserve better. That’s why I will continue to work every day to ensure you and your family can live safely and free from needless government interference as our Founding Fathers intended.

Richard Hudson is serving his fifth term representing North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and in House leadership as the Republican Conference Secretary.

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