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What Does the End of Title 42 Mean?

By May 12, 2023No Comments

Reynold E. Finnegan (from AILA) – Dated May 12, 2023

Immigration trouble at the border – remember these key points:

  • Title 42 endangered lives and has ended as of yesterday, May 11th:
    • Title 42 is a public health law that the Trump administration invoked in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • During the era of Title 42, asylum has all but ended on the Southern border for many nationalities, as border agents can turn away asylum seekers before they can have a meaningful chance to claim asylum.
    • Now that Title 42 has expired, the U.S. has returned to using Title 8 for its immigration laws.
    • Title 8 is the statutory process Congress created for processing immigrants.
    • It is important to note that the statute was created at a time when regional migration patterns looked a lot different than they do now. It was largely male, largely Mexican, and those arriving to look for work. Now it is mostly families, women and children, from many different places in the Americas, looking for safety. The current statutory framework is far from perfect, which is why we need real solutions.
    • But over the past 3 years, Title 42 has caused immense harm to vulnerable people who have been returned to danger and it created a bottleneck at the southern border.
    • Now that Title 42 has expired, the Biden administration has been working to finalize their asylum transit ban proposed rule, returning to conducting credible fear interviews telephonically in CBP custody, and opening in-country processing in select countries.
  • America needs solutions at the border:

    • We need a humanitarian protection system that meets the challenges of the 21st century—and the political will to take an orderly, humane, and consistent approach to humanitarian protection and border management. AILA recommends we combine efficiency and order with fairness and protection. AILA advocates for humane and effective border management solutions that take an “all of government” approach. (SEE AILA’s: What Does a Secure Border Look Like?)
    • Effective long-term border security plans include improving and expanding existing legal immigration systems, addressing backlogs across the immigration system, strengthening USCIS asylum corps, and modernizing and expanding infrastructure at Ports of Entry.
    • Ending the era of Title 42 is a first step in the right direction.
    • AILA acknowledges the administration’s broad-based efforts to expand lawful pathways to the United States to the fullest extent it can do legally. Lasting and fulsome change will require Congressional action. Congress holds the purse-strings and power to reform our outdated laws.
    • AILA acknowledges the very real challenges the administration faces during this time of exceptionally high numbers of migrants at the southern border. The high numbers have been created by a number of factors including four failed nation states (Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua) in our hemisphere, the pandemic, global inflation, and accelerating climate change. Still, the administration, in partnership with allies in the region, must combine efficiency and order with fairness and protection.
    • As a nation-state, the U.S. has the authority to determine who enters its territory to live and work. As a signatory to international refugee agreements, the U.S. has the responsibility to ensure that those in need of life-saving protection are granted it.
  • Protect asylum seekers:

    • Our government must provide access to the asylum process for all applicants and protection for those who qualify.
    • While everyone who asks for asylum deserves a full and fair chance to present their case, not everyone who applies for asylum will be granted refugee protection.
    • It is imperative for America to get this balance right: those who qualify will be granted asylum and those who exhaust due process and fail to qualify, will face removal.
    • The system needs to enhance both its fairness and its integrity. This is not only doable, it is imperative
    • Congressional inaction is unacceptable. The Republican-led Congress has shown its vision of reform as one of simply denying asylum seekers protection by blocking their entry to the US, detaining families and children, and ignoring efficient and fair border processing.
    • The stakes—which are often life-and-death—are simply too high.
    • We urge the Biden administration to strike the right balance between security, efficiency, and ensuring meaningful access to asylum to everyone arriving at our southern border, as guaranteed by U.S. law, regardless of the person’s manner of entry.
    • The Republican-led House intends to turn America’s back on refugees by passing H.R. 2 which blocks asylum seekers, detains families and children, and will not improve border processing.

Taken with Permission From AILA Doc. No. 23050903
Image credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images via

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