The director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that its Title 42 public health order will be terminated effective May 23, 2022. The policy is believed to no longer be necessary to protect public health, considering the increased vaccinations rates in the U.S. and migrants’ native countries, the decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and the availability of mitigation measures.
In his statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas confirmed that Title 42 will be rescinded, but expulsions of adults and families will continue until the May 23rd cutoff. He also shared that they are prepared for the potential influx of migrants at the border and that they plan to increase their “capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests, and quickly remove those who do not qualify for protection” and to put additional COVID-19 protocols and vaccination programs into place within the next two months.
What Is Title 42?
Title 42 is a policy that originated in a 1944 public health law and aims to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. In March 2020, Title 42 was implemented in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Title 42, border patrol agents can send immigrants back to Mexico or their native country without any immigration processing.
Since Title 42 has gone into effect, more than 1.7 million expulsions have been carried out. Many people are sent to Mexico even though they are not Mexican citizens. Reportedly, during the Biden administration alone, approximately 10,000 people have been assaulted, tortured, raped, or kidnapped after their expulsion to Mexico under Title 42 (Human Rights First research).
During his campaign, Biden promised to overturn many of the previous administration’s anti-immigration policies. However, many measures, including Title 42, were kept in place until now. Title 42 has been criticized, by immigration advocates, Democratic leaders, and the United Nations, for many reasons, including but not limited to making it nearly impossible for those seeking asylum to do so and endangering the lives of those seeking asylum.
Divided Reactions to the End of Title 42
While the reactions have been divided concerning the end of Title 42, the feelings towards the administration are consistent. Advocates and progressive democratic leaders are ecstatic that Tile 42 is being terminated, but they are not praising the administration; they believe that the termination is long overdue and are upset expulsions will continue for the next two months.
Other governmental leaders are worried that two months is not enough time to prepare for the increase of migrants who may come to U.S. borders. Some Democrats and Republican leaders have spoken out against the administration’s decision to terminate the policy sharing that they believe this was a wrong decision and that we are nowhere near prepared for such an abrupt end to the policy.
Amongst those upset, Texas Governor Greg Abbott believes that ending expulsions is reckless; in a statement made last week, he expressed his displeasure: “President Biden’s open-border policies are an unmitigated disaster for national security. His recklessness has forced the State of Texas to take unprecedented steps to fill the gaps—including deploying Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and over 10,000 Texas National Guard soldiers, jailing illegal immigrants who are charged with trespassing, and becoming the first state ever to build a wall to secure the border.” He later announced and signed a policy directive, which includes a zero-tolerance policy concerning unsafe vehicle crossings at the border and plans for the state of Texas to start busing immigrants to Washington D.C. (voluntarily) after they have been processed.
Three states (Missouri, Arizona, and Louisiana) have also expressed their dismay over the end of expulsions and have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, stating that lifting the restrictions cause an “unprecedented crisis” and the CDC did not adequately justify its decision to terminate Title 42. Litigation could delay or upend the Biden administration’s termination plans.
Need help with an immigration-related legal matter? Contact Sebastian Simon Law Group, PLLC online or at (713) 839-0639 to schedule an initial consultation. As an immigrant himself, Attorney Sebastian J. Simon understands what you are going through as you navigate the complex immigration process, and he has extensive knowledge concerning immigration law.