Major US Immigration Policy to Be Suspended in MayBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 04/07/2022 - 07:12
Following the US government’s announcement that it will suspend the Title 42 policy in May, US authorities expect an increase in the arrival of migrants at the US-Mexico border. The news of the policy suspension was received poorly by the states of Missouri, Arizona and Lousina, which have sued the Biden administration for allegedly exacerbating the migration crisis.
In March 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promoted the Title 42 policy, which prevents asylum seekers from applying for US protection and allows the US to send migrants to their countries of origin within the first few hours of their arrival. According to CDC authorities, the policy was necessary due to the increase in COVID-19 infections in the US. Since the policy's implementation, more than 1.7 million deporations have taken place, according to US government data.
For years, experts argued that the Title 42 policy was more of an anti-immigrant policy by former President Donald Trump than a health measure. Therefore, they expected that once the more liberal President Joe Biden took office, he would suspended it. However, the policy was maintained despite criticism from UN experts, NGOs and citizens alike.
Nevertheless, this week US health authorities announced plans to rescind Title 42 on May 23, especially as mask mandates have been lifted and US vaccination rates are high. The Biden administration announced that although the policy will be suspended, deportations will continue until then, as this would give authorities time to prepare for the surge in migrant arrivals.
While the policy suspension has been celebrated by human rights defenders, deportations have been widely criticized. Human rights advocates argue that it is a violation to the US’ legal responsibility towards people fleeing from violence. However, US officials argued that the country does not have the personnel nor the facilities to handle the growing migration stream.
According to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the daily average of migrants arriving in the US in March 2022 was 7,100, a substantial increase compared to February’s daily average of 5,900. DHS announced that to prepare for the surge, it will deploy more staff and resources, speed up the asylum process and tackle immigration problems at their root.
The policy suspension was not well-received by all states. Missouri, Arizona and Louisiana have sued Biden for rescinding the policy as they assure it will create one of the worst immigration crises in US history. “Title 42 is a crucial tool in controlling the influx of illegal aliens at our southern border. Without it, we are lost,” said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt. This is not the first time Republican states have opposed Biden's immigration policies. Last year, Texas and Missouri sued the Biden administration for ordering the suspension of the Remain in Mexico policy, which forced migrants to wait for their court hearings in Mexico.