What is Title 42 mean and why is it ending now?
The United States’ COVID-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 are set to expire on Thursday night.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have congregated on the US-Mexico border in anticipation of the end of a pivotal immigration policy that allowed the Trump and Biden administrations to reject asylum seekers due to the pandemic.
The policy, known as Title 42, blocked migrants from seeking asylum in the United States after crossing at the southern border using public health law.
Title 42 was implemented in March 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It is necessary for the public health to immediately suspend the introduction of covered aliens,’ then-CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield said. ‘The faster a covered alien is returned to the country from which they entered the United States, to their country of origin, or another location as practicable, the lower risk the alien poses of introducing, transmitting, or spreading COVID-19.’
Title 42 has since been used to expel asylum seekers over 2.7million times since it took effect in 2020.
The policy has been heavily criticized by many Democrats, as well as organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International.
President Joe Biden campaigned in 2020 to end many of former President Donald Trump’s restrictive border policies, but his administration maintained and expanded Title 42 over his last two years.
The CDC attempted to end Title 42 in April 2022, but a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the move after a lawsuit was filed by 24 Republican-lead states.
Title 42 is set to expire Thursday night at 11.59pm. At midnight a new Biden administration policy will go into place that will allow border officials to deny entry to most asylum seekers who cross the border illegally.
Instead, asylum seekers have been directed to register an appointment with a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer through an app, known as CBP One.
However, migrants have already found the new process frustrating. The CBP One app is rife with glitches, and many asylum seekers report ever being able to schedule their required appointment.
CBP officials are expecting tens of thousands of migrants to cross when the new regulations go into effect on Friday. CBP encountered over 10,000 migrants in one day on Tuesday, a total nearly double the average number trying to cross in March.
To handle the influx, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) temporarily assigned 500 more agents to the southern border. The Pentagon also deployed 1,500 soldiers to assist CBP in detaining migrants.
However, the new policy will also allow CBP officers to deny asylum seekers if they crossed through other nations, such as Mexico, without applying for asylum their first. This rule is expected to make it much harder for most migrants to seek asylum in the US.
As a result, thousands of migrants are expected to try to illegally cross again on Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to make it to the United States before the restrictions go into effect.
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