According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), on May 23, Title 42 expulsions will cease at the southwestern border of the US. The policy change is expected to draw migrants and asylum seekers in mass to the country's southwestern border in coming months. Government officials are worried there will not be enough bandwidth to add more cases to an already massive backlog. Many waiting to have their cases heard are wondering which will receive priority. Title 42 policy created a bottleneck of cases on the southern border, with many in detention centers waiting for their cases to be heard.
What is Title 42?
According to the United States Code, the Surgeon General can determine that a public health issue is dangerous enough to require the suspension of immigration into the United States from specific countries. This policy can be found in Title 42 of the United States Code, Chapter 6A, Subchapter II, Part G, Section 265, which states:
§265. Suspension of entries and imports from designated places to prevent the spread of communicable diseases – Whenever the Surgeon General determines that by reason of the existence of any communicable disease in a foreign country, there is a serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States and that this danger is so increased by the introduction of persons or property from such country that a suspension of the right to introduce such persons and property is required in the interest of the public health, the Surgeon General, in accordance with regulations approved by the President, shall have the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger, and for such period of time as he may deem necessary for such purpose. (July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title III, §362, 58 Stat. 704.)
Title 42 is not an immigration law, but it has impacted the immigration process since March 2020. Title 42 is public health policy used during the height of the pandemic to control the spread of the coronavirus. The law was enacted in 1944, and the US Surgeon General managed it, but the power to enact the policy has been transferred to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). When there were surging deaths at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the need to close the border was determined to be an important step in the right direction.
How Title 42 Impacted Immigration in the US
The CDC stated that Title 42 provided important protections for the country at the pandemic's beginning. However, the unintended consequences of the policy will need to be managed as soon as the policy comes to an end. Before Title 42 was enacted, migrants seeking asylum or humanitarian assistance were detained or released in the United States pending an immigration court decision. Pre-pandemic there was already a backlog of immigration cases, and during the two-year pause, fewer cases were added, but they didn't cease. According to border patrol reporting, 1.7 million people were detained in 2021, and 61% were expelled under Title 42 requirements, meaning the remaining detainees were processed. Now that Title 42 policy is scheduled to stop, many government officials are working quickly to create a plan for how to move forward.
What to Expect Moving Forward
Once the law changes, US detention centers and border towns in Texas are expected to see an influx of migrants and asylum seekers. There are an estimated 1.6 million backlogged cases in immigration court, and Texas has more pending cases than anywhere else in the United States. The Lone Star State leads the nation with more than 262,000 backlogged requests waiting to be adjudicated. The Biden Administration has directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to clear hundreds of thousands of low priority deportation and asylum cases to accommodate an expected deluge of new cases in late May.
At Nathan Christensen P.C., we offer guidance for those seeking entrance into the United States. Statistics have shown that an applicant for asylum is five times more likely to be successful when they have a licensed immigration attorney working on their case. Our immigration attorneys are dedicated to helping asylum seekers and migrants navigate the legal system successfully. Our firm has earned the community's respect because we’ve helped thousands of families realize the American Dream. You can call today at (972) 497-1017 to schedule a consultation.