According to a report by Axios, the Biden administration is hoping to end a public health policy known as Title 42 by the end of July. This comes after the administration had previously ended Title 42 expulsions for unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs).
Title 42 allows Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the ability to quickly expel migrants at the border back into their home countries. This policy was implemented by the Trump administration at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent potentially infected migrants from coming into the United States at a time when our healthcare system was being overwhelmed with COVID positive patients. This measure was put in place in conjunction with restrictions on lawful methods of entry.
In recent months the Biden administration has come under increased scrutiny from open borders advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who had sued to end the practice of expelling migrant families back into their home countries. The ACLU has since put a temporary hold on the lawsuit while they are in negotiations with the Biden administration to end the policy.
Since March, CBP has applied Title 42 to less than half of family encounters at the border due to limited space in Mexican shelters and some Mexican states refusing to take in families with young children, according to the Axios report. While the total number of Title 42 expulsions have increased under the Biden administration, the overall percentage of border encounters that have resulted in expulsions decreased drastically under President Biden.
All of this comes at a time when the Biden administration has rolled back many of former President Trump’s immigration policies, leading to the ongoing and intensifying surge at the Southwest border. Since taking office, President Biden has halted the construction of a border wall, ended the Remain in Mexico policy, revived and expanded the Central American Minors (CAM) program, and has reduced the deportation of illegal immigrants to record low numbers.
As evidence to how bad the border crisis has become, there have been 929,868 border encounters in FY 2021 as of May, a number not seen this early in the year in decades. Border encounters have only gone up each month since President Biden took office in January. Additionally, there have been 79,948 UAM encounters at the Southwest border in 2021, already more than anytime during the Trump administration with exception of 2019 (but will likely surpass 2019 as well after the June numbers are reported).
Title 42 is perhaps the only thing stopping the border crisis from turning into an international catastrophe. Additionally, millions of Americans are still out of work due to the ongoing economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is imperative that President Biden not only preserve Title 42, but also restore all Trump era immigration policies that have been shown to boost border security and deter illegal immigration. This will help CBP agents as they deal with the effects of the border crisis and minimize further damage to our already overwhelmed asylum system.