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Title 42 and Its Effect on Immigration

Immigration is very common in the United States, so a new health order has been established. If you want to know more about this, click here.

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    The United States has a long history with immigration.  Every year, thousands of migrants come to the U.S. with the hopes of finding a better life.  Although there are many people who accept and encourage immigration, there are others who oppose it.  That’s why there has always been controversy over the topic, and now even more after the pandemic.  For the past couple of years, many migrants have been turned away because of a public emergency health order called Title 42.

    This has affected thousands of lives over the past two years.  For that reason, it’s crucial that we understand what this health order is and what recent changes have been made to the order.

    What Is Title 42?

    Title 42 is a public health order that dates back to 1944.  It was created as a way to prevent the spread of communicable disease and to help the country deal with national and international health problems that could arise.  If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines that a disease poses a threat, then the people or property that could spread it can be temporarily prohibited from entering the country.  It must, however, be done with the approval of the president.

    Now fast forward to March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Under Trump’s administration, this order was put into action.  It allowed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to immediately remove anyone entering the country without authorization; this included migrants seeking asylum.  This went against U.S. laws that aimed to protect those seeking asylum, prevent migrants from having to return to countries where they face threats or danger, and protect unaccompanied children that are vulnerable to being trafficked.

    Though COVID-19 has made a huge impact on the entire world, Title 42 was a controversial decision.  In fact, some scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have expressed their opposition to the enforcement of Title 42, and many others have agreed that refugees should not be denied entry to the United States.  Whether many opposed it or not, unfortunately, it was still enforced.  This resulted in hundreds of thousands of migrants being denied entry into the United States.

    Since this public health order has been put into effect, a lot has happened, including the election of a new president.  Although the Biden Administration attempted to end Title 42, they were not successful.

    Title 42 Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden Administration

    Since taking office, Joe Biden’s Administration continued to enforce Title 42 up until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that it was no longer necessary.  On April 1, 2022, they stated in this announcement that, 

    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 termination of Title 42 was supposed to take effect on May 23, 2022.  The key word here is supposed.  Instead of successfully terminating Title 42, the Biden Administration was met with resistance.  

    Federal Judge Robert R. Summerhays told the Republican state attorneys general and the federal government that he planned to grant the Republicans’ request for a temporary restraining order.  This decision was inspired by the strong pushback from both Democrats and Republicans; many voiced their concern over the expected increase in immigration if the public order were to be terminated.  The lawsuit claimed that lifting the order violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires a notice-and-comment period.  It also claimed that the Administration failed to account for the cost of the states when handling healthcare costs for migrants who have COVID-19.  This helped the judge temporarily block Biden’s administration from ending the order on May 23rd.  There was also a request to have a plan in order to deal with the increase in migrants trying to seek asylum.

    While many people wanted the order to stay in place, it was met with equal opposition, with many saying that it was against human rights and should be illegal.  However, the controversy over the topic didn’t stop the Louisiana judge from temporarily blocking the termination of Title 42 immigration.

    How Title 42 Has Affected Immigration

    Title 42 has been enforced for the last two years, yet migrants are still attempting to enter the United States.  In fact, there is an increase in repeat border crossings, as migrants are being denied on their previous attempts.  The continuous increase in migrants trying to enter the United States is due to dangerous and insecure circumstances that they are attempting to flee from their home country.

    Rather than being put in normal immigration proceedings as they would in the past, migrants are immediately expelled.  Some are returned to their home country, while others are sent back to Mexico; both of which can put the migrants in unsafe circumstances.  This leaves them with two main options: wait for months at the Mexican border or cross illegally – both of which have consequences.

    Those who wait at the border are exposed to inhumane conditions, as there have been many reports of violent attacks against migrants at the border, including robberies, kidnappings, and murder.  Without the opportunity to seek asylum, and with the fear of waiting at a border town for months, crossing irregularly may seem like the only choice for many migrants.  Unfortunately, this also exposes them to risk, as they must survive a dangerous journey to arrive at their destination.

    What Now?

    The Biden Administration needs to keep fighting to lift Title 42.  What many people can agree on is that immigration proceedings can be improved, so the idea is to create a plan to better handle the increase in immigration.  As stated in this announcement from the Department of Homeland Security, the Biden Administration wants to help fix the immigration system, which includes:

    1. Acquiring and deploying resources to address increased volumes.
    2. Delivering a more efficient and fair immigration process. 
    3. Processing and removing those who do not have valid claims. 
    4. Working with other countries in the Western Hemisphere to manage migration and address root causes. 

    The uncertainty over when Title 42 will be officially lifted leaves many people confused about what their next steps should be.  Since every situation is different, immigration attorneys are the best resource to stay up to date on policy changes.  As experts in immigration law, they can better help those who need a trustworthy source of information and assistance.

    At AMS Law Group, we have experience in all areas of immigration.  To learn more about how Title 42 can affect you, or for assistance in other immigration-related areas, please contact us.

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