The US Administration recently announced it is rescinding as of May a policy that made it harder for migrants to seek asylum in the US. The policy, called Title 42, allows border agents to expel asylum seekers to Mexico to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and was issued by the CDC. The former US Administration created the policy as a means to protect public health in 2020.
Nearly 2 million individuals have been expelled using Title 42, and the process will continue to expel single adults and families encountered at the border until the order is lifted. The order does not extend to all groups – however – refugees from war-torn Ukraine continue to enter the US.
The policy will officially end on May 23. According to a statement from the CDC, the order is “no longer necessary” after “considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19.” The program will expand to 27 locations along the border.
The order will remain in place for the next seven weeks while the Administration implements a vaccine program to get migrants vaccinated at the border. The program began this week at 11 locations along the U.S.-Mexico border, where up to 2,000 vaccines will be available daily. The first shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will be distributed.
The Administration is preparing for an influx of immigrants, and DHS has increased its capacity to process new arrivals, asylum requests, and remove individuals who do not qualify. Recent findings indicate that the lifting of Title 42 could bring up to 170,000 migrants attempting to enter the US this spring, with hundreds already marching north through Mexico and many camped out at ports of entry along the border.
DHS has also deployed more than 600 officers to the southern border and will refer smugglers and crossers for criminal prosecution. Border Patrol plans to reassign some officers and agents, along with increasing the number of ICE personnel working along the border.
Border Patrol also plans to use volunteers from elsewhere in the DHS to process those apprehended by agents and increase the number of Border Patrol processors and contractors.
Are you or a loved one looking for immigration legal services? Contact us today for a consultation.