Immigration after Title 42
In March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold of the nation under the Trump administration, the Centers for Disease Control issued a public health order allowing for the rapid expulsion of unauthorized border crossers and asylum seekers.
This wasn’t the first time that Title 42 was discussed in the White House as a possible solution to deal with migrants on the U.S. Southern Border. Even before anyone had ever uttered the words "COVID-19," Trump advisor Stephen Miller had proposed using the rarely invoked 1944 Public Health Services Law to make it easier to deport potential asylum seekers.
But when the pandemic struck, the Trump administration didn’t tarry and applied Title 42. This meant asylum-seeking immigrants were not afforded the right to make a case to stay in the U.S. before an immigration judge. Most migrants subject to Title 42 measures are returned to Mexico within hours.
In February 2021, Physicians for Human Rights asserted that the policy has been applied unfairly against migrants and asylees and that its stated purpose of containing the spread of COVID-19 was dubious.
In December 2021 Anne Schurchat, the second-highest official at the CDC, testified that the expulsions of migrants under Title 42 lacked a sufficient public health rationale.
The Biden administration tried to rescind Title 42 but was blocked by various lawsuits filed by officials in Republican-led states, including Texas. Administration officials have signaled they will end the policy on May 11 after terminating the country's emergency response to COVID-19.
Nevertheless, many Republican elected officials continued to demand that Title 42 remain in place as a measure to prevent “illegal immigration.” It estimated that under the misuse of Title 42 over two million migrants were prevented from entering the United States legally. Many of these people were forced to wait in camps in northern Mexico where they were preyed on by cartels. Others gave up on entering the country legally and crossed the border without authorization—which was sometimes deadly.
Once the Title 42 order is no longer in place, CBP One will be used to help ensure safe and orderly processing at ports of entry. DHS is increasing and enhancing the use of expedited removal under Title 8 authorities for those who cannot be processed under the Title 42 public health order.
Tori Salas, Coordinating Director Interfaith Welcome Coalition
Rep Greg Casar, Democrat TX-CD-35
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Director, American Immigration Council
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