Biden Administration Ends Border Restrictions to Accept Migrants Due to Pandemic | Univision Immigration News

The Joe Biden administration is preparing to end Title 42 health policy, which left hundreds of thousands across the border as a result of the pandemic. According to media reports, the measure is expected to take effect on May 23 to allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prepare for a possible wave of migrants reaching its southern border.

The order, which is expected to be issued this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), considers that “there is no longer a serious danger” that migrants can infect others with covid-19 in the centers of detention, reports the newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

This Wednesday, the DHS had published a strategy to deal with a possible increase in immigrants at the border from the moment the CDC decided to suspend the application of Title 42.

The controversial rule, implemented in 2020 by the Donald Trump government as part of the public health measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, was revised at a time when an increase in new infections was recorded, this time caused by the BA variant.2 of ómicron, which already represents 55% of the cases in the country.

The CDC has so far been reevaluating the policy and renewing it every 60 days. It allowed the government to expedite deportation of aliens when federal agents determined there was no probable cause for asylum.

Since its implementation in 2020, more than 1.7 million people were returned to Mexico under the authority of Title 42, according to data from the Office of Customs and Border Control (CBP).

On Tuesday, DHS officials who asked to remain anonymous told abcnews that the plan contemplates an increase of up to 18,000 daily asylum cases that must be processed by border agents when the border with Mexico reopens.

The strategy released by the Department states that the plan is to improve security while “building a fair and orderly immigration system.”

However, it warns that violence, food insecurity, poverty, and lack of economic opportunity in several countries in the Western Hemisphere “continue to drive unprecedented levels of migration to our southwestern border,” a problem that was first noted in 2013. by researchers from the University of California in a report delivered to the United Nations (UN).

The DHS adds that the devastating economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic in the region “has only exacerbated these challenges” and adds the actions of organizations dedicated to human smuggling “that spread misinformation that the border is open.”

The citation of human smuggling groups reflects government concerns of an increase in illegal crossings caused primarily by the withdrawal of Title 42.

The DHS said that the strategy in the face of the foreseeable increase in immigrants at the border includes:

  1. Acquire and deploy resources to address higher volumes of people;
  2. Deliver a more efficient and fair immigration process;
  3. Process and deport those who do not have valid claims (reasons for asylum);
  4. Work with other countries in the Western Hemisphere to manage migration and address the root causes.

Points 3 and 4 cited in the document have been implemented since the beginning of the Joe Biden government last year. Some results, such as the continuous exodus of people, have not decreased but are increasing more and more.
But the DHS not only blames the countries from which the migration to the United States is generated; it also points to the existence of “an immigration system that is fundamentally broken,” which has so far not been repaired by Congress, and calls for the establishment of “an immigration system that strengthens legal pathways.”

The strategy indicates that the response plan includes planning and support between agencies and dependencies that participate in the migration process.

It also mentions hiring staff “and resources for the southwest border,” as well as Department volunteers “to quickly decompress points along the Mexican border and process migrants more efficiently.”

The document mentions increasing the temporary retention capacity of the Office of Customs and Border Control (CBP) “to process large volumes of people in a humane manner.”

It should be noted that, by law, the Border Patrol must not detain a foreigner for more than 72 hours. After that period, you must hand him over to the care of another federal agency or proceed with his deportation if there is no cause for asylum or the person is inadmissible in the United States.

The process also includes new centers and expansion of existing ones “in order to provide more efficient comprehensive processing for migrants who are at the southern border.” This phase will have the support of agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Funds for the strategy

The new DHS border plan reveals that it will be financed with funds from the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022, where Congress provided an additional $1.45 billion for a potential increase in border work.

The figure includes $1.06 billion for CBP soft facilities, health care, transportation and personnel costs; $239.7 million to ICE for processing capacity, transportation, and personnel costs; and $150 million for FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program on the southwest border.

In turn, the DHS said that the president had included in the Nation’s Expenditure Budget for the fiscal year 2023 funds for the hiring of 300 new Border Patrol agents and 300 new processing coordinators of the federal agency.

The DHS strategy mentions the new asylum rule for aliens subject to expedited deportation, which will be implemented in two months, once the deadlines for publication in the Federal Register are met.

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the DHS signaled that they were issuing the rule that “will ensure that those who are eligible for asylum receive relief quickly, and those who are not, are quickly removed.”

“Until now, people who pass the credible fear interview are put into an asylum process only before an immigration judge, who decides their future in the United States,” explained José Guerrero, an immigration attorney who practices in Miami, Florida.

“With this new rule, asylum officers will be able to directly adjudicate the asylum application and speed up the process instead of waiting years,” he added.

According to the note issued by both departments, the rule authorizes the asylum officers of the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who evaluate each case that is presented at the border, “to consider the asylum applications of persons subject to expedited removal who assert fear of persecution or torture, and pass the required credible fear screening.”

Lawyers consulted by Univision Noticias warned that the credible fear interviews carried out by USCIS agents can take up to two hours each. “The government will need many asylum agents to serve thousands of people daily on the border with Mexico,” said attorney Álex Gálvez, who practices in Los Angeles, California.

In addition to improving facilities, streamlining processes, and preparing a new asylum rule, DHS said the strategy is to:

  • Continue to process migrants in accordance with United States law, including the expedited removal of those who do not have valid claims to remain in the country;
  • People who cross the border without legal authorization will be placed in removal proceedings and, if they cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, will be removed on an expedited basis;
  • Those who attempt to enter the United States without authorization and without a valid asylum application are subject to additional long-term consequences beyond deportation, including bars to future immigration benefits;
  • Work with other countries to manage migration and address the root causes behind the exodus, and with transit countries in the region to discourage migration; and
  • Continue close collaboration with the Government of Mexico on issues related to migration.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that under the Title 42 order, the Biden administration “has repeatedly denied people fleeing violence and persecution the right to seek protection in the United States and sent them directly back to danger.”


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