Biden Administration to End Title 42 in May

(Washington, D.C.) — The Centers for Disease Control announced Friday that it is ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Democrats and immigration activists have widely condemned the US’s use of its public health power as an excuse to not provide refuge for people fleeing persecution. This policy was implemented by President Donald Trump on March 2020. More than 1.7 Million migrants who tried to enter the U.S. since then have been expulsed.

Title 42 authority is the policy. It was named after a 1944 law that prevented communicable diseases. However, it won’t take effect until May 23 to give border officials enough time to plan. The Associated Press reported this change in the beginning of this week.

As restrictions were lifted across the U.S., it became increasingly difficult to support this policy scientifically.

Federal orders state that the Department of Homeland Security will increase efforts to give vaccines to border migrants in the coming months.

“After considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics), the CDC director has determined that an order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” the CDC said in a statement.

This decision will likely attract more migrants towards the U.S.-Mexico frontier. More than 12 migrants ran excitedly from their shelter at Ciudad Juarez’s Good Samaritan shelter, Mexico to ask about the decision before it was even officially announced.

DHS said this week that about 7,100 migrants were coming daily, compared with an average of about 5,900 a day in February — on pace to match or exceed highs from last year, 2019 and other peak periods. But border officials said they are planning for as many as 18,000 arrivals daily, and that seems certain to cause challenges for border-region Democrats in tight reelection races — with some warning that the Biden administration is unprepared to handle the situation.

Homeland Security announced it had created the Southwest Border Coordinating Center as a response to sudden increases. MaryAnn Tierney is a Regional Director of Federal Emergency Management Agency and serves as an interim leader. A Border Patrol official acts as deputy.

Officials are also looking at additional air and ground transportation options, as well as tents for the anticipated influx. The Border Patrol already has civilians on its payroll.

They spend around 40% of their time looking after people who are already detained and performing administrative tasks unrelated to border security, instead of patrolling and finding smuggling.

It was hoped that the agency would allow agents to get back in the field and hire civilians to do tasks such as checking the holding cells, checking microwave burritos properly, or collecting the information needed for the immigration court papers.

Administration officials acknowledge that the fixes will only be temporary.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to pursuing every avenue within our authority to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and stay true to our values,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Yet a long-term solution can only come from comprehensive legislation that brings lasting reform to a fundamentally broken system.”

As coronavirus incidences soared, the Trump administration put in place these limits in March 2020. Officials claimed that COVID-19 was being kept out of America at that time. However, it has always been criticized that Trump used the restrictions to close the border with migrants he didn’t want. It was perhaps the broadest of Trump’s actions to restrict crossings and crack down on migrants.

The order was partially lifted by CDC officials last month. This means that children can travel to the border without their parents. U.S. border agents began screening children travelling alone within their busy zones in August. The positive rate fell from almost 20% at the beginning of February to 6% by week one.

Nationality and cost factors, as well as diplomatic relationships with the home country, have influenced how asylum limits are applied. Numerous migrants were spared by the invasions of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ukraine. Homeland Security officials wrote border authorities this month that Ukrainians may be exempt, saying Russia’s invasion “created a humanitarian crisis.”

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