Title 42: Title 42, a public health order based on a decades-old and once-obscure law, has gotten a lot of attention recently because it’s about to expire next month.
To some, this is a positive step. Many immigration groups and Democrats have lobbied President Biden to lift it because it prevents migrants from requesting asylum at the border.
However, other members of Congress, including a few close Biden friends, believe it is too soon. With the midterm elections coming up this year, several Democrats in competitive seats are concerned that the White House does not have a sufficient plan in place to deal with the expected inflow of migrants at the border once Title 42 is lifted.
What is Title 42?
Expulsions under Title 42 are actions taken by the United States government against those who have recently visited a nation where a contagious disease was present. 42 U.S.C. 265 specifies the scope of authority for contagion-related expulsions.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Trump administration used this clause (section 265) to stop numerous migrants from entering the United States by land. The Biden administration has continued the initiative.
The program permits the US Border Patrol and US Customs and Border Protection to deny admission to those who may represent a health risk due to previously declared travel restrictions or by entering the country illegally to avoid health-screening requirements.
It was established under the Trump administration and has been used to prevent asylum seekers from legitimately requesting asylum in the United States by the Biden administration.
Those who are subject to the order are not held in holding centers for processing but are instead deported to their previous transit nation.
If they cannot be repatriated to their previous transit nation, the Border Patrol will engage with its interagency partners to expel them to their home country.
Expulsions under Title 42 are tracked separately from immigration and are not based on immigration status.
Biden Administration Left a Trump-era Policy Title 42
The Biden administration left a Trump-era policy known as Title 42 in place at the US southern border for more than a year, allowing the US to promptly deport migrants to their countries of origin or Mexican border communities.
The government stated on April 1 that the policy would terminate on May 23, allowing US officials time to prepare for a surge in migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border.
While some Democrats applauded the repeal of Title 42, Republicans want to keep it in place.
Title 42 Criticized By Many Human Rights Group
Several human rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the American
Immigration Council has condemned Title 42. These organizations claim that the policy permits the US to deport asylum seekers without going through a legal process.
More than 60 members of Congress, including Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory W. Meeks, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging him to stop the practice.
They suggested in the letter that for the remainder of the pandemic, Mayorkas should use alternate means of humanitarian support for detainees facing deportation.
Why Title 42 Expulsions?
Immigrants intercepted by border patrol personnel were sent back to Mexico within hours or to their place of origin within days after Title 42 was enforced at the US-Mexico border, bypassing the immigration procedure.
According to Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Strategy Center, migrants who attempted to cross between ports of entry faced “no legal penalty” under the policy.
Brown stated that if Title 42 was not in place, “There would be repercussions, making it more difficult for individuals to return legally under immigration law. As a result of exploiting Title 42, there were no consequences, and many immigrants, notably Mexicans, who had been deported to Mexico, just tried again “As a result, there has been a huge increase in the number of repeat border crossings.
After May 23, What Could Happen At The Border?
Officials will “just go back to processing any interactions across the border the way we always have under Title 8, which is the immigration authority that has always been in place throughout the history of US Customs and Border Protection,” according to Luis Miranda, a CBP spokesperson.
Miranda stated that the US administration anticipates an increase in arrivals at the southern border, but that those who are unable to demonstrate a legal basis to remain in the country will be deported.
“That’s something we’ve been thinking about. And to properly and humanely process any encounters. But, in the end, if someone tries to enter the country without legal authorization and does not have a legal basis to stay, they will be deported “he stated.
Those who arrive at the border without proper identification or attempt to enter between ports of entry may be deported without their case being heard by an immigration court.
If a migrant wishes to apply for asylum, they must first be examined by an asylum officer before being removed or deported.
People from foreign nations can apply for asylum in the United States if they fear persecution back home, according to federal law. They must be present in the United States and demonstrate a fear of persecution on one of five grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social class membership (the vaguest of the five categories; it can include grounds such as sexuality or caste).
If a migrant passes an asylum officer’s credible fear test, their case is submitted to immigration court, where the migrant can seek asylum as a defense against deportation.
The applicant will be deported if they do not pass the fear screening or are denied in immigration court. If they try to return without documents, the consequences can be severe, including criminal prosecution and the inability to seek any valid immigration visa in the future.
Will Return of Title 42 Happen in the Future?
The Republican-controlled states of Missouri, Louisiana, and Arizona filed a lawsuit on April 3 alleging that the Obama administration failed to adequately defend its decision to discontinue Title 42.
A judge might also “require the administration to continue Title 42 for some amount of time while that litigation plays out,” according to Brown.
Meanwhile, Republicans thwarted a Democratic attempt to start a debate in the Senate on a $10 billion COVID-19 deal. They want a vote on the decision of the Biden administration to abolish Title 42.