Title 42 as a means to close the borders
The US Code has a lengthy statute called Title 42, which, broadly speaking, allows certain federal entities to use unconventional measures in light of a health emergency that may put public health at risk, such as the global Coronavirus pandemic.
In early 2020, when the first massive outbreak of COVID-19 reached the North American territory, former President Trump’s administration used Title 42 to close the borders and deport immigrants apprehended in the border territory in a matter of hours, without following the regular process or giving them an opportunity to present their cases.
Since then, Title 42 has been in place and both the Trump administration and the Biden administration have stated that this statute is necessary to prevent the massive spread of the virus across the US.
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Advocates ask Biden to lift Title 42
Former president Trump always intended to reduce immigration levels at all costs and that is why the implementation of Title 42 was not necessarily an unpredictable event. However, the fact that Biden has followed in his footsteps and continues to use this statute to carry out express deportations does indeed come as a surprise to many.
As a result, over the past several months, dozens of activists and immigrant rights advocates have called on Biden to lift Title 42, stating that it affects the integrity of the most vulnerable immigrant populations such as asylum seekers who arrive at the borders to seek international protection.
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Experts say Title 42 is ineffective
Aside from pressure from immigrant rights advocates, several experts, including members of the White House, have stated that using Title 42 to expel undocumented immigrants does not bring positive repercussions.
In fact, the President’s Chief Medical Advisor recently stated that it is time for the American population to take responsibility for low national vaccination rates and not blame immigrant communities for the massive outbreak of COVID-19.
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The Biden administration is between a rock and a hard place
The Biden administration faces an unprecedented challenge. On the one hand, if it lifts Title 42, it could unleash an even worse surge of illegal border crossings. On the other hand, if it does not lift Title 42, it will continue to face legal processes and pressure from activist groups and political leaders.
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