Will Lifting Title 42 Overwhelm Border Communities?

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Will Lifting Title 42 Overwhelm Border Communities?
Christian Bryant explores what impacts Title 42 has had on immigration thus far and what impacts will come once it is scheduled to end in May.

The Biden administration announced plans to officially lift the controversial policy known as Title 42 on May 23 — but there's growing concern that that move could lead to an influx of migrants at the southern border. Last year, migrant encounters more than doubled in all nine southwest border sectors, according to Pew Research.  

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a new bill that would prevent the Biden administration from getting rid of the policy unless the administration presents a detailed plan to deal with an expected surge of migrants. The senators plan to include their proposal as part of a larger amendment to the $10 billion COVID funding bill.

For a little background: Title 42 was first put in place March of 2020 under the Trump administration.  

The memo officially came from the Centers for Disease Control, which has the authority to do so under the 1944 Public Health Service Act. Basically, federal health officials can ban people and goods from entering the country in the case of a pandemic and in the interest of public health. 

Critics of the policy, including several public health experts, have said it’s a misapplication of the law, arguing it was getting used because of immigration concerns, not public health worries. 

When President Biden took office, he promised a more humane approach to immigration, saying he would overhaul some Trump-era policies — but this one stuck around. 

In February of last year, President Biden did sign an executive order exempting unaccompanied minors from expulsion under the policy.  

Still though, despite repeated calls to fully end Title 42, the CDC extended the policy in August of 2021.  

The arguments against the policy got even louder as vaccine rates increased and pandemic-era restrictions came to an end. 

Then, at the beginning of this month, the Biden administration said Title 42 would officially end in May.  

To help us look at the impacts of ending the Title 42 policy and what we might expect when it’s lifted, Newsy brought in Theresa Brown, the managing director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Institute.