Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Trump-era Policy that Biden Administration Uses to Expel Migrant Faces Uncertain Future

President Biden came into office promising to reverse Trump-era policies that have restricted immigration to the United States. However, for months, Biden officials have relied on a Trump-era policy put in place at the U.S. southern border that has caused almost a million migrants’ expulsion back to their home countries.

The future of the policy, implemented during the covid-19 pandemic, is uncertain as pandemic restrictions ease nationwide and litigation over the policy continues. Officials have depended on the policy to manage migrants arriving at the border, fueling concern over whether the U.S. could see another influx of migrants if it were reversed.

The policy was first implemented in March 2020, when the Trump administration invoked a public health policy known as Title 42 that allowed border officials to turn back migrants encountered at the US- Mexico border. At that time, public health officials suspected political motivations were behind the decision.

Despite concerns over the legitimacy of the policy to protect public health, the Biden administration kept it in place and defended its use. Biden stated, “The only people we’re not going to let sitting there on the other side of the Rio Grande by themselves with no help are children.”

A DHS official said in an interview that the administration understands that given the policies it put in place, Title 42 is “not only quite necessary but also quite convenient right now.” The official argued that the situation at the border would be worse without the policy, referring to the migrant influx over the past several months, which left thousands of people in border facilities.

Some lawmakers are wary of undoing the policy, as Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas stated, “Imagine if we would allow the single adults, which are the largest amount of people coming in, to come into the United States. Yes, I support Title 42. Yes, I understand there’s a lawsuit that is questioning whether this is the right thing to do. Sometime when things get better in the pandemic, then a decision will have to be made whether you keep Title 42 or when you get rid of it.”

However, immigrant advocates and attorneys have questioned the effectiveness of the health order. Jennifer Quigley, senior director for government affairs at Human Rights First stated, “They view everything through the lens of border management. They feel like we have the kids’ situation under control, so let’s not completely lift Title 42. Let’s tinker with it, so that we have small numbers come in.”