Biden administration will change Title 42 to increase exemptions for asylum-seekers

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

The Biden administration is considering a plan to increase the number of illegal migrants allowed to remain in the United States by doing away with Title 42. The Trump administration put Title 42 in place in March 2020 to address the public health crisis at the southern border due to the coronavirus pandemic. Title 42 allows families to be quickly returned back over the border to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) refers 35 families to the Biden administration for an exemption to the policy every day. Those families are allowed to avoid being sent back to where they came from. The ACLU is impatient with such a low number and is pressuring Team Biden to do away with Title 42. The ACLU wants to do away with the rapid expulsion of families due to concerns about the pandemic creating a public health crisis on the southern border.

Biden’s plan has not been formalized yet. According to documents obtained by BuzzFeed, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have begun drafting a plan that will allow those most vulnerable to be exempted for humanitarian reasons.

The plan would have organizations in Mexico identify people who would likely gain an exception to the policy due to their vulnerability and get their biographical and biometric data to US Customs and Border Protection officials. This would allow for a more efficient process to screen and allow entry to certain immigrants who are tested for COVID-19, according to the documents. People who show up to ports of entry would not be able to enter this process.

What isn’t widely reported is that the ACLU is playing a big role in this policy. The ACLU is suing the government over Title 42 and one attorney, Lee Gelernt, wants the program ramped up right away. DHS claims it is working with the CDC on the policy and said the border “is not open.” I know.

“We are hoping to see a more formal, expanded program ramp up quickly. Any formal NGO process, to be meaningful, will need to allow a significant number of people in each day at multiple ports,” he said.

A spokesperson for DHS told BuzzFeed News that the border “is not open,” and that the government continues to expel “individuals and families under the CDC’s Title 42 public health authority.”

“DHS is continually working, in consultation with the CDC, to improve the process for humanitarian exception requests under Title 42 as part of our efforts to restore safe, humane, and orderly processing at our borders,” the spokesperson said.

The progressive left is anxious to have all of Trump’s policies at the border eliminated and Biden has made a lot of that happen. Even Open Borders Joe understands a public health crisis, though, and has kept Title 42 in place. One group, Human Rights First, claims to have tracked “at least” 492 attacks suffered by “those turned away or stranded in Mexico since President Biden took office in January 2021.”

“The policy also creates disorder and pushes asylum seekers to cross into the United States between ports of entry,” the report states. “Rather than protecting public health, the expulsion policy threatens the health and safety of asylum seekers and migrants.”

The turn-backs under Title 42 are different than deportations. Deportations are used when the illegal migrant has gone through the immigration process and disqualified to legally stay in the U.S. It is a legal distinction. As we know, the Biden administration is not using Title 42 for unaccompanied minors. This new policy addresses migrant families crossing the border and attempts to deter separation. Title 42 protects Border Patrol officers and border towns from the coronavirus. It has rarely been used pre-COVID pandemic.

There is not any indication yet of when the policy will be reversed. Immigrant advocacy groups are pressuring the administration to act more quickly to make the change. DHS officials admit the Title 42 policy helps manage the flood of migrants crossing the southern border but Secretary Mayorkas is forging ahead to end it.

The number of humanitarian exceptions, particularly for families, appears to have increased under the Biden administration, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection data obtained by CNN. Nearly 1,600 family members were processed for entry into the US at the ports along the southern border from April 1 to 28. That’s up from 620 people during the prior four weeks, the data shows.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last week that the timeline to end the administration’s reliance on rapid border expulsions is “as quickly as possible,” though he did not provide a deadline. Mayorkas also acknowledged that some of the pressure to end the use of Title 42 comes from the ongoing lawsuit.
Officials conceded the policy has helped the administration manage the influx of migrants crossing the border amid the pandemic.

“Our plan at the border is tied to the pandemic, but also tied to our more comprehensive plan to manage migration, as I said, from the region all the way up to the Southwest border,” Andrea Flores, director for transborder security at the National Security Council, told reporters last month.

Team Biden isn’t really interested in protecting the southern border or the people who work to enforce the laws. Their intention is to allow as many illegal migrants as possible to remain in the U.S. and then give blanket amnesty to millions of those already here. Joe Biden said as much as he campaigned for president and his actions since he has been in office prove he is following through on those plans.