Joe Biden has been briefed on two options to end Title 42, the Trump-era policy that allows the U.S. to expel illegal migrants because of public health concerns. Trump used Title 42 to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Title 42 allows the CDC the authority to order law enforcement at the border to quickly deport illegal migrants to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. The Biden administration has continued the policy.
Title 42 allows Border Patrol to prohibit entry at the border to migrants who potentially pose a health risk at the southern border. Migrants who cross over the border on land avoid health screening measures. They are not held in areas for processing but immediately sent back to the country of last transit. If it isn’t possible for them to be sent to the country of last transit, they are sent back to their country of origin with the help of other interagency partners. This is where Trump’s agreement with Mexico for the Remain in Mexico initiative was so helpful in mitigating the coronavirus pandemic. Migrants enter through Mexico and are sent back there to wait to be processed. Biden put a halt to the Trump administration’s other border policies but kept Title 42 in place.
Yesterday I wrote a post on the Biden administration’s use of NGOs at the southern border. The administration has essentially outsourced the decision-making process of who will and will not be allowed to seek asylum at the border to special interest NGOs, like the ACLU and Al Otro Lado. Families that cross the border legally are allowed to remain in the U.S. until their asylum claim is processed. These NGOs are working to bring in thousands of others on the pretense that they all qualify for asylum. They have set up online portals for people to sign up for their help and they are distributing flyers in border communities like Tijuana with information about applying for asylum.
Little did I know that just hours after that post was published I would read a “scoop” in Axios that the Biden administration plans to move forward with eliminating the Title 42 order. The reporting says that administration officials have given the president two options – either stop expulsions of families by the end of July or let a court do it. Tens of thousands of migrant family members have been expelled through the use of Title 42 since Trump put the policy in place. Team Biden is bowing to the NGOs, who happen to also be threatening legal action against the administration over these expulsions and looking for a way to eliminate Title 42 next month.
The administration has been in negotiations with the ACLU, which has put a temporary hold on its lawsuit targeting the practice of expelling families.
Details of internal discussions relayed to Axios show top administration officials have suggested Biden seize the initiative by ending the order, which has been sharply criticized by immigration advocates and many of his fellow Democrats.
They argue that allowing the ACLU to sue would force the Justice Department to defend Trump’s policy.
That, in turn, could result in sensitive information being released through the litigation process and could be seen as contradictory to Biden’s commitment to asylum.
Trump’s decision to activate Title 42 was an important tool to use to mitigate the pandemic. Biden knows it and that’s why he’s kept the public health order in place. Now he is going to allow this staff to convince him to end it. If it was just a matter of being a good time to end the order because so many people have been vaccinated, that’s a trope at this point. Americans are being vaccinated at a quick clip but not Mexicans and those in Northern Triangle countries. The illegal migrants crossing the southern border through Mexico haven’t been vaccinated. Team Biden knows if the DOJ goes to court and defends the order, it will win.
The Axios article states that though tens of thousands of family members have been expelled, Title 42 has only been applied to about half of migrant families. There is limited space on the Mexican border to accommodate families and some Mexican states have stopped accepting families with young children. Unaccompanied children are not expelled once they cross the border, they are allowed to stay. The Biden administration has set up a process to exempt more migrants from the Title 42 order over humanitarian concerns.
The ACLU extended its pause on litigation until July 2. This isn’t a coincidence. It means that one of the options presented to Biden by his administration will be put into place to appease the ACLU and others. The Biden administration has shown that they are more concerned with bowing to those who work toward open border policies at the expense of border security and also public health concerns in the United States. The administration admits the elimination of Title 42 will likely lead to an uptick in migrant families crossing the border and it will lead to pressure to eliminating the order for single adults. The fastest-growing segment of illegal migrants apprehended on the border is single male adults. This move would just exacerbate the problem. Axios reports that “Over the past four months, migrant adults have been expelled more than 350,000 times under the order.”
As I asked in my previous post, what could go wrong? The ACLU has grown tired of abiding with negotiations it made with the administration over the use of Title 42 and signaled their intention to move forward with legal action. Team Biden is caving to special interests rather than stand up to protect American sovereignty at the southern border and public health.