Over the past few weeks, photos have emerged about The United States is crowded with facilities filled with children who had come to the country’s southern border with Mexico alone and sought protection.
These scenes put pressure on Joe Biden’s administration, this has mobilized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to accommodate and permit the use of military bases and other temporary facilities for the detention of unaccompanied minors when their cases are processed.
But Biden and other US government officials have also told reporters that although an exception has been made for unaccompanied children – several thousand of which are still in facilities of USA – The US-Mexico border has otherwise been closed.
“The message is pretty clear: don’t come,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorkas to speak in an ABC News interview last month. “The border is closed. Safe border. We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults.
Just in February, the US authorities sent over 72,000 people back to the south border.
To do that, the Biden administration is using the public health policy introduced by former President Donald Trump for the first time last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, under which the US border has been sealed off. results for most migrants and asylum seekers.
Here, in the first part of a series on the situation on the US-Mexico border, Al Jazeera explains how the process, known as Title 42, is being applied, and how it affects development. recent increase in arrivals and what immigration experts say the Biden administration needs to do now.
What is Title 42?
The Trump administration in March of last year beg Title 42 – a public health clause in the US Code that has been in the book for decades – authorizes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other authorities Quickly refuse entry for most migrants without a legal permit of entry.
The order, does not apply to US citizens or permanent residents, or foreign citizens with valid travel documents or visa-free, “necessary to protect public health”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US disease (CDC) said at the time.
“Deported individuals do not receive deportation orders, but CBP collects their biometrics and records their contact with the agency,” the US Immigration Council explain.
What is the effect of Title 42?
Trump’s use of the Title 42 policy leaves most migrants and asylum seekers unable to enter or seek protection in the US, as thousands are quickly deported back to Mexico or to their home countries .
Between March and September 2020, nearly 205,000 people were deported under Title 42 at the US southern border, while more than 190,000 people were deported in October, November and December of last year, according to CBP. statistics.
“The legal obligation that the United States has – domestic and international – to allow individuals seeking asylum is waived on a daily basis that this policy expels people on the border,” said Karen Musalo, director of the Research Center. Sex & Refugees at UC Hastings University. Law, tell Al Jazeera.
The Biden administration still applies Title 42?
Yes, but it made an important change: While Title 42 still applies to most families and single adults coming to the border, unaccompanied children are now available. exempt and is being held by the US.
A US judge ruled in November that the Trump administration cannot return Title 42 unaccompanied children and issue an order. Then, on January 29, a court came up stay, essentially allowing the government to reintroduce a child ban – but the Biden administration has chosen not to do so.
On February 2, Biden also command assessment of “statements, rules and guidelines by the Trump administration that effectively closed the US border to asylum seekers” as part of a broader push to reverse Some of the predecessor’s most divisive policies.
How many people have been deported while using Title 42 under Biden?
In February, the first full month of Biden’s presidency, more than 72,000 people were deported on the Title 42 southwest border, out of a total of 100,441 detained, according to CBP. the data.
Out of those concerns, the border agency said 19,236 people were in family units; 71,598 are single adults and 9,597 are unaccompanied minors.
Will the family be expelled from school?
Yes, but not all. Politifact report That 7,900 people considered part of the family unit were among those deported under Title 42.
Axios also report this month, between March 14 and 21, “an average of only 13 percent of the nearly 13,000 family members trying to cross the US-Mexico border were returned to Mexico”, according to government officials. this book.
NBC News yes report that Mexico will not take back certain families with children six years or younger in a certain area of the US border due to limited capacity.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told Axios: “It is our policy that families are deported and in non-deportable situations due to Mexico’s inability to accept families, they will be brought in. deportation proceedings ”.
Where are people sent?
Although Mexico often takes back people from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, it does not allow most migrants from other countries to return, Musalo said. Instead, the United States reintroduces asylum seekers to dangerous situations that often occur in their home countries.
“For example, in the middle violence in Haiti“We saw a series of aircraft of Haitian asylum seekers being brought back to Haiti,” she said. “This is very, very interesting.”
Does Title 42 encourage people to cross the border?
Tens of thousands have sought to enter the US this year, with US media reporting that Friday More than 171,000 migrants were arrested along the southern border only in March.
Danilo Zak, senior policy advocacy and advocacy associate at the National Immigration Forum, told Al Jazeera the repeated crossings of single adults from Mexico is increasing the number of visitors. overall. The recidivism rate from March 20 of last year to February 4, 2021, was 38 percent, recent CBP report.
“According to Title 42, because there’s so little processing, it’s really just getting rid of everyone as quickly as possible,” said Zak.
“There is no additional penalty for repeat, illegal passers-by. People are returned within an hour and a half to two hours instead of a few days, meaning they can just try to walk back to the border again or try to cross the border in some other way ”
What happens now?
The Biden administration said they plan to work to address the “root cause” of the move from Mexico and Central America, and providing more resources – and hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance – to help alleviate the systemic problems in those countries. It continues to tell migrants and asylum seekers not to come to the United States.
Meanwhile, Musalo at UC Hastings, involved in a Title 42 policy suit alleging illegal, said the results of that legal challenge have yet to be announced.
Some observers have raised concerns about the implications of a complete deregulation of the policy, provided the US government is overly strained with a recent wave of unaccompanied minors to the border. But Musalo says the Biden administration has a legal obligation to act.
“When you have a legal obligation… there is no excuse to say, ‘hey, we will take some time to settle things.’ You have that legal obligation. You should not bring people back into persecution and you need to do what is necessary to allow people to enter. ”