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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Title 42 Ends This Week - Here's Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Sam Orlando

Arlington, VA - On March 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a public health order known as Title 42, which allowed the U.S. government to immediately expel migrants seeking asylum at the southern border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This measure was implemented under the Trump administration and has since been continued by the Biden administration. However, court actions have cleared the way for the final repeal of the policy as of Thursday, May 11, 2023.

What is Title 42?

Title 42 is a public health order that was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order allows the U.S. government to immediately expel migrants seeking asylum at the southern border without providing them an opportunity to seek protection. The order was implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 and has been continued by the Biden administration.

Under Title 42, the U.S. government has expelled more than 820,000 migrants, including over 200,000 families and unaccompanied children. These expulsions were carried out using a process known as "expedited removal," which allows for individuals to be removed from the United States without a hearing before an immigration judge.

What does the repeal of Title 42 mean?

As of May 11, 2023, Title 42 will be officially repealed. The repeal of Title 42 means that families and single adults who are seeking asylum at the southern border will no longer be immediately expelled to their home countries. Instead, they will be allowed to remain in the United States while their asylum claims are processed. This is a significant shift from the previous policy, which did not allow for individuals to seek protection in the United States.

What should we expect with the repeal of Title 42?

The repeal of Title 42 is likely to lead to an increase in the number of migrants arriving at the southern border. This is because migrants who were previously turned away will now be allowed to enter the United States to seek protection. It is also possible that there will be an increase in the number of unaccompanied children arriving at the border, as these individuals were already exempt from Title 42 expulsions.

The increase in the number of migrants arriving at the border is likely to put a strain on immigration processing facilities and the immigration court system. This may lead to longer wait times for individuals seeking asylum, and a backlog of cases in the immigration court system.

In addition, the repeal of Title 42 is likely to put a strain on local and state law enforcement. These agencies may be required to provide support to federal agencies in processing and transporting migrants.

Politically, the repeal of Title 42 is likely to be exploited by politicians on both sides of the issue for political gain. Republicans are likely to use the issue to criticize the Biden administration for being soft on immigration, while Democrats are likely to use the issue to criticize the previous administration for its harsh immigration policies.

What are the arguments for and against Title 42?

Supporters of Title 42 argue that it is necessary to protect public health by preventing the spread of COVID-19. They argue that the order is a necessary measure to prevent the overcrowding of detention facilities and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks among migrants and staff.

The end of the Title 42 policy means that border authorities will no longer be able to expel most migrants on public health grounds, and instead will have to process them through immigration courts. This could lead to increased migration on the southern border, as well as backed up immigration courts, stress on local and state law enforcement, and more politicians on both sides of this issue exploiting it for political gain.

Some lawmakers have expressed concern about the potential for increased COVID-19 transmission with the end of Title 42. However, the Biden administration has argued that the policy was not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that the government can instead implement measures such as testing and vaccination requirements to address public health concerns.

Critics of Title 42 have also raised concerns about the policy's impact on asylum seekers and their legal rights. Under U.S. and international law, individuals have the right to seek asylum if they are fleeing persecution or violence in their home country. However, the Title 42 policy has effectively closed the border to most asylum seekers, leaving them in limbo and at risk of deportation to dangerous conditions.

Immigrant rights groups have welcomed the end of Title 42 and are calling for the Biden administration to restore asylum protections for those seeking refuge in the U.S. They argue that the policy has been used as a tool to deny vulnerable populations access to the asylum process and that the U.S. has a moral obligation to provide safe haven for those fleeing persecution.

While the end of Title 42 is a positive step towards a more humane and just immigration system, there is still much work to be done to address the root causes of migration and create a fair and effective system for processing asylum claims. The Biden administration has promised to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, but the political realities of a divided Congress may make this a difficult task.

In the meantime, the end of Title 42 provides a glimmer of hope for asylum seekers and immigrant rights advocates who have long been calling for an end to this cruel policy. It is a reminder that public health concerns should never be used as an excuse to violate human rights or deny access to due process.

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