Friday, May 24, 2024

The Biden Administration Relies on a Trump Policy to Turn Migrants Away

The Biden Administration has moved efficiently to distance itself from Trump-era immigration policies but at the U.S. – Mexico border, a pandemic-related order put in place by former President Trump remains in effect allowing officials to continue turning away thousands of migrants.

Biden officials state that the order criticized by immigrant advocates gives the administration time to make changes to the U.S. immigration system while still managing the influx of migrants at the border amid an ongoing pandemic. Moreover, the Biden Justice Department recently defended it in court and as a result recent arrival continue to be sent back to their country of origin just as they were under Trump.

In January, more than 62,000 people who crossed southwest border were expelled, which is a number that has been relatively consistent for the past several months. The order, Title 42, is a public health order which limits the number of migrants and unaccompanied children allowed in the country due to a health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic.

This health order came under scrutiny during the Trump Administration because officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspected political motivations behind it.

Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, has attempted to explain the Biden Administration’s rationale for still relying on the authority despite the criticism. Mayorkas argued that the administration is using the public health order as a tool while it gets other policies in place.

In a statement, Matt Leas, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security stated, “[T]he border is not open, and people should not make the journey to reach it.” Still, immigrant advocates urge the Biden Administration to stop turning migrants away as they arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Alida Garcia, vice president of advocacy at stated, “The use of Title 42 as a justification for their ability to do good in the future is also them making the choice that these children and families are expendable in the meantime. In my opinion, that’s wrong. They need to find a way to walk and chew gum at the same time.”