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Biden ending Title 42 soon; could bring 400K migrants a month, officials say

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 12, 2023

A federal rule allowing for quick migrant expulsions on the U.S. border could be weeks away from ending, which the officials have said could lead to hundreds of thousands of migrant encounters every month.

The rule, Title 42, was implemented in 2020 and has enabled the U.S. to rapidly expel illegal migrants to Mexico on public health grounds. President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to end the policy on May 11, Axios reported.

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More than 2 million migrants have been expelled via Title 42 since it was implemented, according to PBS. The expulsions have come against a backdrop of encounters between migrants and U.S. border agents reaching their highest levels in two decades, according to the Pew Research Center.

Migrant encounters on the southern border hit a high of 251,995 in the month of December, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. A proposed rule by the Department of Homeland Security cited projections that if Title 42 is lifted without “additional policy changes,” migrant encounters “could average 11,000-13,000 per day” – as many as 403,000 a month.

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Biden has said that he doesn’t “like Title 42” and moved to end the policy in 2022, but was blocked in the courts, CNN reported. The Biden administration has acknowledged ending the rule would “likely” lead to increased border crossings, but favored that result over “extend[ing] indefinitely a public-health measure that all now acknowledge has outlived its public-health justification.”

Title 42 is written to be lifted whenever the “public health emergency” from the COVID-19 pandemic officially ends, which a White House official said would happen on May 11, NBC News reported. Biden on Monday formally ended the “national emergency” related to COVID-19, but not the public health emergency, Politico reported.