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Sens. Thom Tillis and Kyrsten Sinema.
CNN  — 

A bipartisan group of senators led by Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina and independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona introduced immigration legislation Thursday intended to counter an influx of migrants expected at the border when a Covid-era border restriction ends next week.

The legislation is not a true extension of Title 42, which allowed border authorities to quickly expel certain migrants citing a public health emergency, and it’s not expected to pass before the border policy expires.

But the narrow bill, according to a Sinema aide, would seek to give the Biden administration more flexibility in how it handles migrants at the border. It would give the administration a two-year expulsion authority that would apply to migrants who were trying to come to the US illegally without proper documents. The bill will include some exceptions and carveouts for migrants whose lives could be in jeopardy or who could be tortured if they were returned to their home countries. The aide said the bill would also provide some exception for migrants who are experiencing an urgent medical need.

Without Title 42, the primary border enforcement tool since March 2020, authorities will be returning to decades-old protocols at a time of unprecedented mass migration in the Western hemisphere, which is raising concerns about a surge in migrants after the border restriction is lifted – a potential political vulnerability for President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats facing reelection next year. The new legislative effort comes as the Biden administration has been racing to set in motion plans to stem the flow of migration.

“What we’re trying to do is make it as clean as possible, basically extending the current policy,” Tillis told reporters. “I think that you will, after next week, have a growing number of people saying we at least need this in place so that we can sort out the fundamental problems at the border.”

Sens. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, also signed onto the bill.

The legislation reveals a narrow area of bipartisan support on immigration – an issue that could play a major role in the 2024 campaign. Manchin and Sinema are both weighing if they will run for reelection. Both would be among the most vulnerable senators facing reelection next year, but both have said they have time to decide on their political futures.

“Despite ample notice about the pending expiration of Title 42, the Administration has failed to properly secure our southern border,” Manchin said in a statement. “The immigration crisis is only getting worse and our broken immigration system is ill-equipped to handle it. Our bipartisan legislation creates a two-year temporary solution to prevent a complete collapse at our southern border,” he said.

Tillis acknowledged that the bill can’t become law before Title 42 is lifted next Thursday.

“Is this bill gonna get out of the Senate, go to the House and go to the president’s desk before next Thursday? No. Is there going to be a growing sense that if the president’s not going to put any other option on the table, that it’s going to be unsustainable, unsafe and politically unwise? Yes. So, we’ll start having those discussions in the next couple of weeks,” Tillis said.

Ted Barrett and Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.