With Title 42’s expiration set to occur at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, security officials are preparing for what could be a potentially overwhelming influx of migrants seeking asylum at the southern border. The COVID-era public health emergency measure facilitated the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border and virtually halted the processing of asylum applications for over three years.
This has resulted in a large backlog of asylum seekers, many of whom have been waiting for the chance to have their cases heard. The expiration of Title 42 is expected to lead to an increase in asylum applications and the resumption of processing. However, it is unclear how quickly the system can handle the backlog, given the considerable strain that the pandemic has placed on it.
The lifting of Title 42 is also expected to bring about legal challenges, as it has been a contentious issue since its implementation. Critics argue that the measure violates both U.S. and international laws governing asylum-seekers’ rights and that it has been used as a tool to block access to the asylum process.
As a result, the expiration of Title 42 is seen as a crucial development for asylum-seekers, human rights advocates, and immigration lawyers. They hope that it will signal a renewed commitment to upholding the legal rights of those who seek asylum in the U.S. while also ensuring that the system can handle the increased demand in a fair and efficient manner.
After the termination of Title 42, individuals who have fled from violence, poverty, and political instability and have been waiting in Mexico will be subject to the immigration protocols established by Title 8, which have been in place for decades.
These protocols establish the rules and procedures for processing asylum applications, which include interviews with asylum seekers and consideration of their claims based on various factors such as persecution and fear of return. The transition from Title 42 to Title 8 is expected to bring significant changes and challenges for both migrants and immigration officials.
Once Title 42 is lifted, individuals seeking asylum will be subject to Title 8, a set of immigration protocols that have been in place for decades. These laws require that individuals cannot be turned away or deported without a screening for asylum claims.
As a result, they will enter the country and be placed in detention centers while they go through a process known as expedited removal. This process includes a credible fear interview to determine the validity of their claims. If their claims are found to be credible, they will be allowed to remain in the country as their cases make their way through immigration court. If not, they will be deported.
However, due to longer processing times, there will likely be a bottleneck at ports of entry and detention centers, putting a strain on federal, state, and local government resources. This could have a significant impact on the individuals seeking asylum as well as the communities in which they are being processed.
Title 8 reinstated as Title 42 ends, changing the process for asylum-seekers at the US border
The reinstatement of Title 8 could potentially serve as a much-needed aid for numerous migrants who have been residing in perilous conditions on the streets of Mexican border towns or in overcrowded shelters, vulnerable to exploitation and violence.
When Title 8 is reinstated, it will not only offer a path to asylum for many migrants, but also come with harsher consequences for those who cross the border unlawfully. In addition to facing deportation, migrants could be banned from entering the U.S. for up to five years and even prosecuted.
Furthermore, the Biden administration recently issued a new rule that significantly restricts access to asylum for individuals who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without having applied online or sought refuge in a country they passed through before reaching the border. While the rule was initially announced in February, it is expected to be contested in court.
As Title 42 is set to expire and with the return of Title 8, the Department of Homeland Security is working to avoid potential chaos at the ports of entry. To address the recent influx of migrants, the department has finalized a new rule that limits asylum for those who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through.
The implementation of this new rule is part of the department’s efforts to address the current strain on U.S. immigration resources. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged that the plan will take time to be fully realized, but he remains confident that it will deliver results.
The rule was first announced in February, but it is expected to face legal challenges. The penalties for migrants caught crossing the border illegally will also be stiffer under Title 8, including the possibility of a five-year ban on entry to the U.S. for those who are deported, as well as prosecution.
Biden Administration Implements New Measures to Address Current Challenges
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the Biden administration has implemented a series of new measures aimed at tackling the ongoing immigration challenges at the southern border. These measures are intended to deter migrants from making illegal crossings while also creating new legal pathways for those seeking asylum.
One of the key measures is a rule that limits asylum eligibility for those who do not apply online or seek protection in a country they passed through before arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration hopes that these measures will ultimately help alleviate the strain on immigration resources and lead to a more effective and efficient immigration system.
On Tuesday, senior administration officials revealed plans for the State Department to establish approximately 100 regional processing centers across the Western Hemisphere. These centers would provide a place for migrants to apply for resettlement in the U.S., Canada, or Spain.
While there are no specific dates set, two of these hubs are expected to open in Guatemala and Colombia soon. Additionally, the officials stated that a new online platform will be launched to allow individuals to schedule appointments at the processing centers nearest to them.
To address concerns over limited internet access, the CBP One mobile app will now use a new appointment scheduling platform. The number of daily appointments will increase significantly, from a previous low of about 300 per day to 1,000. Those who have been waiting the longest for appointments will be prioritized.
As part of its strategy to manage the situation at the border, the U.S. administration has announced that it will maintain its commitment to admit 30,000 migrants each month from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua, provided they have applied online and have secured a financial sponsor. In return, Mexico has agreed to continue accepting the same number of migrants who cross the border illegally.
To better manage the flow of migrant families seeking asylum, the administration also unveiled a new program called Family Expedited Removal Management. This initiative will enable immigration officials to track the head of the household with the help of a monitoring device and impose a curfew.
The administration has also deployed 1,500 active-duty military troops to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. This is in addition to the approximately 24,000 law enforcement officers and 2,500 National Guard troops who are already stationed there.
Judd expressed his dismay, stating that he never thought any administration would allow the border crisis to escalate out of control to this extent. However, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz countered that officials are taking swift action, and by midday, the number of individuals in custody had decreased by several thousand, to 26,345. He added, “So I feel like we’re already making progress.”
Ortiz also dismissed reports by some news outlets that approximately 150,000 migrants are waiting along the border, calling them drastically overblown. He estimated the number to be between 60,000 and 65,000.
Furthermore, Ortiz suggested that the record number of daily apprehensions, which have been as high as 17,000, are not expected to continue beyond Thursday night. He explained that only five of the nine southwest Border Patrol sectors are over 125% capacity, with the remaining four being under capacity. The most crowded sectors are the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso in Texas, and Tucson, Arizona.
Ortiz holds a different view from some officials who think the surge of the past five or six days would continue to increase. He believes that the peak is now as a result of people trying to enter the United States before the lifting of Title 42.
To ease the upcoming bottleneck, immigration authorities started an in-person campaign to persuade migrants to turn themselves in. Mariangely Leal, a Venezuelan from Caracas, is one of the many people who decided to take a chance. After months of attempting to schedule an appointment on the CBP One app, the 26-year-old crossed into El Paso last week, determined to enter the United States before May 11. “I surrendered on Tuesday at 11 a.m.,” she informed “By 8 p.m., I received my papers, and I was set free.”