Biden Administration Has Been Planning To End Title 42 Border Policy

The Biden administration is considering ending the controversial border policy known as Title 42, which was implemented during the Trump administration to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may inform Mexico about this potential change as early as April. This could lead to an increase in immigration at the border and strain available resources. BuzzFeed News obtained this information from reviewed documents.

There has been ongoing debate over the legality of Title 42, with Senate Democrats and immigrant advocates criticizing the policy. Former President Donald Trump used Title 42 to expel immigrants at the border and deny them access to the US asylum system. Some are sent back to Mexico quickly, and others are flown to their home countries. President Joe Biden has continued to enforce the policy, resulting in over 1 million expulsions at the border despite court challenges.

However, recent court rulings and the evolving federal response to the pandemic may contribute to ending Title 42. DHS officials have been preparing for this possibility, as confirmed by a senior official, and a draft document obtained by BuzzFeed News also references ongoing contingency planning. Reuters also reported that the administration is leaning towards ending Title 42.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is scheduled to meet with Mexican officials next week.

If Title 42 is eliminated, DHS officials plan to urge Mexico to return to the practice before COVID-19, where unauthorized border crossings could be processed, allowing individuals to seek asylum and protection in the US. Before the implementation of Title 42, those apprehended at the border could apply for asylum, and their cases would be evaluated to determine if they could stay in the country.

However, reverting to pre-pandemic practices could strain border resources and create a challenging situation in northern Mexico, according to the draft DHS document. The document also expresses concerns about a high number of unauthorized border crossings.

The implementation of Title 42 has given the Biden administration time to consider changes to border policies and the asylum system. Whether major changes will be implemented once Title 42 is no longer in effect is uncertain. Administration officials aim to overhaul the processing of asylum-seekers and address the immigration court case backlog, potentially reducing wait times for certain applicants by several years. The final plan, which has not been released yet, would shift the authority for granting asylum from an immigration judge to an asylum officer for certain individuals encountered at the border.

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Written by Western Reader

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