What Is Title 42?
For more than a year, the Biden Administration kept in place at the US southern border a Trump-era policy known as Title 42,
which allowed the US to quickly expel migrants to their country of origin or Mexican border towns.
On April 1st, the Administration announced the policy would end on May 23rd,
giving US officials' time to prepare for what they expect to be an increase in migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border.
Some Democrats support ending the policy and celebrated the announcement, but Republicans are against the decision to end Title 42.
But what is Title 42?
So, when we say Title 42, what we're actually referring to is an order issued by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control.
And that CDC order empowered border enforcement agencies to remove migrants crossing to the United States, including those hoping to apply for asylum,
which is their right under US law and International Treaty.
Title 42 also blocked entry of asylum seekers who presented themselves at ports of entry under the policy.
It's aimed specifically at the entry of immigrants at the US-Mexico border who do not have documents.
Once Title 42 was implemented at the US-Mexico border,
immigrants encountered by border patrol officers were sent back to Mexico within hours or back to their country of origin within days,
without any legal consequence to those who try to cross between ports of entry.
They were also blocked from asking for asylum.
If they had been processed under immigration law,
there would be a consequence that would make it harder for them to come back legally under immigration law.
So, by using Title 42, there was no consequence and therefore what we saw was many immigrants,
particularly Mexicans who had been expelled back to Mexico would simply try again.
According to US Customs and Border Patrol data, Title 42 has been used in most of the estimated 2 million expulsions of migrants from Brazil,
Central America, Haiti, Mexico and Colombia since march 2020.
The number of encounters is higher than the actual number of migrants crossing the border,
because many of those migrants are crossing multiple times in the same month.
This February, US border officials registered 164,973 migrant encounters, of those 91,513 were expelled.
The rate of repeated crossing attempts is estimated to be 30% higher in the Title 42 era.
Federal law allows people from other countries to seek asylum in the United States if they fear persecution at home.
They must be present in the US and prove a fear of persecution on one of five grounds, race, religion, nationality,
political opinion or membership in a particular social class.
After May 23, US border officials say they're expecting arrivals to increase at the southern border,
but added that those unable to establish a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed.
We'll simply go back to processing any encounters across the border the way we always have under Title 8,
which is the immigration authority that has always been in place throughout the history of US customs and Border Protection.
But ultimately, if someone is trying to come in without a legal authorization and doesn't have the legal basis to stay,
they will be placed in removal proceedings.
Title 8 means that if a migrant passes what's called a credible fear screening by the asylum officer,
then their case is referred to immigration court where the migrant can apply for asylum as a defense against being deported.
If they don't pass the initial screening or are denied in immigration court, the applicant will be removed.
If they try to come back without documents, the penalties can be higher,
such as being prosecuted in the criminal law and denied the ability to apply for any legal immigration visa in the future.