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What is Title 42 and what happens at the US-Mexico border?

As of this Thursday, May 11, the border between USA and Mexico closes a chapter and enters a new era: The Title 42a health regulation imposed by the Government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) that allowed hot expulsions with the excuse of the pandemic, comes to an end.

To replace it and with the intention of stopping what is expected to be a considerable increase in migration by land, the Administration of Joe Biden He has launched a series of measures that restrict access to asylum at the borderwhich, according to experts and activists, are similar to the policies promoted by Trump which the Democrat promised to revoke during his election campaign.

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These are the keys to understanding the regulations that will govern the border between the United States and Mexico, and the impact that the Title 42.


Title 42 is a sanitary standard, imposed during the Trump administration, which allows the expulsions of migrants at the border. Under the Republican government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued this regulation shortly after the declaration of the national emergency by covid-19.

Thus, under the pretext of the pandemic, Title 42 has allowed the restriction of the entry of migrants through the southern border and their expulsion to Mexico of people of certain nationalities after crossing the border irregularly, without the possibility of requesting asylum.

A US Border Patrol agent walks past a line of migrants waiting to turn themselves in to agents in El Paso, Texas, on May 9, 2023. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (PATRICK T. FALLON /)

Under this rule, The US has carried out more than 2.5 million expulsions in all this timeaccording to data from the International Rescue Committee organization.

The use of Title 42 has been widely criticized by human rights organizationswhich ensure that it is a violation of international law, since it prohibits people who need protection from requesting asylum in the US.

In turn, it has been the subject of several lawsuits, both asking that it be withdrawn and that it be maintained. However, the end of Title 42 It comes hand in hand with the lifting of the national emergency due to the pandemic on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. local time.


By removing the Title 42 It was expected that the usual rules would be applied again to review asylum cases, which by law must be requested on US soil.

However, The Biden government has decided to implement a new rule that restricts access to asylum for people seeking to reach the US by land.

The regulation, which was published this Wednesday in the federal registryl, classifies migrants who cross the border irregularly and who have not requested protection in a third country during their journey to the United States as “unfit” to request asylum.

The main legal route to request asylum in the US available to people arriving at the border will be via the CBP One mobile appwhich allows immigrants to make appointments with the authorities to present their cases.

The North American country will offer about 1,000 daily appointments to request asylum through this procedure, a figure that, according to public officials, may increase “depending on the capacity” of the migration service workers.

Those who do not take advantage of this process and decide to cross the border irregularly will be declared ineligible to request asylum in the US, unless they have previously been denied in a third country or demonstrate that they have encountered technological or language barriers to access the application.

To implement these measures, the Executive of Biden It has decided to increase the staff of immigration agencies, with more than 24,000 officials, and deploy 1,500 soldiers on the border.

At the same time, The US has increased the number of deportation flights to countries in the region and it has also reached an agreement with Mexico so that the neighboring country receives up to 30,000 deported migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba per month.

Migrants camp on Monday, May 8, 2023, outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, in El Paso, Texas.  (EFE / Jonathan Fernandez).

Migrants camp on Monday, May 8, 2023, outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, in El Paso, Texas. (EFE / Jonathan Fernandez).


Migration and human rights experts have strongly criticized the measures taken by the Democratic government, assuring that they are a continuation of Trump’s policies and warn that they will expose migrants to situations of greater risk.

New policies “will fuel human trafficking, enrich cartels” and they will cause even more deaths on the border as people will be forced to head for “more dangerous border crossings,” Ari Sawyer, who researches the border for Human Rights Watch (HRW), told EFE.

The measures, in addition, “will result in a violation of the US legal obligation not to return refugees to situations of persecution or torture,” Sawyer said.

For his part, the director of Asylum Policy of the International Rescue Committee, Kennji Kizuka, pointed out that The situation of people who are deported to northern Mexico is especially worrisome.

“Humanitarian needs in northern Mexico are likely to increase as services, including shelters, are at capacity in many places,” Kizuka stressed.

The Administration of Bidenassured the expert, has the opportunity to “restore access to asylum at the border”: “The use of a defective and inaccessible mobile application should not be a requirement to exercise the right to asylum,” he stated.

Source: Elcomercio

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