The Biden administration on Friday announced it is rescinding as of May a Trump-era policy that made it harder for migrants to seek asylum in the United States as a result of the pandemic. The policy, called Title 42, allows U.S. border agents to expel asylum seekers to Mexico to prevent the spread of coronavirus and was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The policy will officially end on May 23. According to a statement from the CDC, the order is “no longer necessary” after “considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19.”
Former President Donald Trump created the policy, known as Title 42, more than 1 million individuals have been expelled using Title 42, according to statistics from DHS. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that DHS will continue to expel single adults and families encountered at the border until the health order is lifted. Once the order is lifted, individuals will be processed under standard procedure. The administration is not immediately ending the policy because it is implementing a vaccine program to get migrants vaccinated at the border, according to DHS. The officials said the program began this week at 11 locations along the U.S.-Mexico border, where up to 2,000 vaccines are given daily. DHS is giving the first shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the officials said. The program will expand to 27 locations along the border.
DHS has increased its capacity to process new arrivals, evaluate asylum requests and remove individuals who do not qualify for protection. DHS has redeployed more than 600 law enforcement officers to the southern border and will refer smugglers and certain border crossers for criminal prosecution.