Tuesday, August 3, 2021
USA Today, the New York Times, and many news outlets are reporting that the Biden administration has extended a Trump-era policy that allows migrants to be quickly expelled from the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that it had
"issued an order under Sections 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service Act, and associated implementing regulations, that temporarily suspends the introduction of certain noncitizens based on the Director’s determination that introduction of such noncitizens, regardless of their country of origin, migrating through Canada and Mexico into the United States creates a serious danger of the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States, and the danger is so increased by the introduction of such noncitizens that a temporary suspension is necessary to protect the public health. Unaccompanied noncitizen children, already excepted under a July 16, 2021 order, remain excepted from the order’s coverage."
The Title 42 measure "shall remain in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health, and the Order is no longer necessary to protect the public health."
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that "Title 42 is not an immigration authority, but a public health authority, and its continued use is dictated by CDC and governed by the CDC's analysis of public health factors."
The policy was first issued last year by the CDC under the Trump administration. President Biden has been criticized by immigrant activists and some lawmakers for keeping the policy in place.
Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant rights organizations resumed a lawsuit challenging Title 42. The lawsuit came after months of negotiations to end the policy reached an impasse. In addition, the ACLU, after the CDC's latest statement, has said that it will seek an injunction to bar continuation of the Biden CDC order.
The Biden administration is employing COVID-19 health concerns as a justification for stringent immigration controls, which expels asylum seekers before they can seek relief. Such efforts, it is hoped, will reduce Republican criticism of the Biden administration's border enforcement efforts. As summarized in this New York Times story, "Republicans accuse Mr. Biden of creating a crisis on the border by suggesting that he will make it easier for many people to get a shot at entering the U.S."