The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that Title 42, a restriction on immigration imposed by former President Donald Trump, ostensibly to prevent COVID-19 entering the US via the Mexican border, will expire in May.
Homeland Security officials are anticipating as many as 18,000 migrants to try and enter the US every day after the restriction ends.
“After considering current public health conditions … the CDC Director has determined that an Order suspending the right to introduce migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,” read a statement from the agency on Friday.
“This termination will be implemented on May 23, 2022, to enable [the Department of Homeland Security] time to implement appropriate COVID-19 mitigation protocols … and prepare for resumption of regular migration,” it added.
Trump, via the CDC, implemented Title 42 as an emergency measure in March 2020, and while President Joe Biden immediately reversed many of his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies, Title 42 has remained in place, and roughly 1.7 million potential immigrants have been turned back at the US’ southern border under its authority.
Despite both administrations using Title 42 to turn back the equivalent of the population of Hawaii, the Biden administration still recorded more than two million people crossing the border in 2021, a record high and 565,000 more than the totals from 2019 and 2020 combined. This total does not count illegal immigrants who entered the US undetected.
While many of these immigrants would have been subsequently removed under Title 42, those claiming asylum would have been detained and processed, and many of those entering illegally would have been released into the US pending court hearings. This Obama-era system, known as ‘Catch and Release’, was reinstituted by Biden when he took office last January.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, as many as 18,000 migrants per day, or more than six million per year, may enter the US once Title 42 is lifted.
- The agency is preparing buses and planes to distribute these migrants around the US, and setting up temporary processing facilities at the border to handle the influx, an ABC News report on Wednesday stated.
Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner and former adviser to Trump, said on Wednesday that revoking Title 42 would unleash “one of history’s most spectacular travesties,” and would “open the floodgates on a biblical scale.”