WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is coming under fire from both Republicans and Democrats for his administration’s decision to end a Trump-era policy that expels migrants from the United States’ borders to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection announced in April that they are rescinding the policy on May 23.
Since then, some Democrats who are up for reelection have called on Biden to not end the policy, saying that there needs to be a better infrastructure in place to address an expected increase of people coming to the border to seek asylum.
The White House has said they are continuing to prepare for the policy to end in late May.
Here is what you need to know about the policy known as Title 42.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 is a public health order that allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants to Mexico or back to their home countries to prevent the spread of the virus in holding facilities.
When was it started?
The policy was created under the Trump administration and was issued by the CDC in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic.
Are their exceptions to the policy?
Unaccompanied children, some families and some vulnerable individuals were exempt from the order under the Biden administration. When the policy was first created under the Trump administration, mostly everyone, including children, were turned away.
How many people have been expelled under Title 42?
More than 1 million people were expelled under Title 42 in fiscal year 2021. In fiscal year 2022, more than 535,000 people have been expelled from the United States thus far.
Can Biden delay ending the policy?
Republicans and some Democrats have asked Biden to not end the policy. However, only CDC has the power to decide whether they will no longer end the policy or delay rescinding it. The CDC is a federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Congress gave the CDC authority to make determinations about when it should be lifted and that the administration is preparing for it to end on May 23.
How is the Biden administration preparing for the end of the policy?
Psaki said at Wednesday’s press briefing that the Department of Homeland Security is implementing a plan to prepare for the policy to end.
She said the steps the administration has taken to prepare include deploying resources to address increased numbers of people who will come to the border to seek asylum or entry into the United States.
“That includes moving officers, agents, DHS volunteer force personnel to rapidly decompress points along the border and more efficiently process migrants,” Psaki said.
She added that the administration will also deploy COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including personal protective equipment and COVID-19 vaccines.
What happens when Title 42 is lifted?
The Biden administration said they are preparing for an increased number of people coming to the US-Mexico border after the policy ends.
Last year, border officials experienced a record number of border encounters, with over 2 million people coming to the border. However, more than a quarter of the individuals who came have repeatedly tried to cross into the United States. According to CBP, the recidivism rate was at 27% for fiscal year 2021.
With the policy ending, some individuals who come to the border will likely be put into the migrant protection protocols program, which forces people to wait in Mexico for their immigration hearing.
In addition, some people might be allowed to wait in the United States for their immigration hearing and could be monitored using an ankle bracelet or asked to check in with immigration officials at their final destination.
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism