Biden administration could revoke controversial border policy blocking asylum by end of May

The Biden administration has drawn up a plan to end by the end of May a controversial border policy that prevented most migrants from seeking humanitarian protections at the U.S. border, according to people familiar with the matter.

Department of Homeland Security officials had been in talks for weeks following two contrasting court rulings over the Trump-era policy, known as Title 42. The policy invoked a 1944 public health law to quickly return migrants to Mexico or to their country of origin. in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The decision, not yet final, would give authorities time to prepare at the border, the Associated Press reported.

Title 42 applies to adults traveling alone and parents traveling with their children. Last year, the Biden administration exempted children traveling without a parent from deportation under the policy.

Over the past two years, border officials have used Title 42 to deport migrants about 60% of the time — more than 1.7 million deportations — while allowing others with humanitarian exemptions. But as the response to the pandemic shifted in the United States, officials began preparing to end the policy.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially ended the unaccompanied child policyclaiming that their deportation “is not justified to protect public health”.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court in Washington DC has ruled that migrants cannot be deported to places where they would be persecuted or tortured. This decision has not yet taken effect.

Without Title 42 in place, migrants could again seek asylum in the United States. Prior to the policy’s enactment, asylum seekers were screened to determine if they could remain in the United States while their case progressed. But officials fear a return to pre-pandemic practices will strain resources at the border as large numbers of migrants try to enter without permission.

Last week, the Biden administration announced it would overhaul the country’s asylum system — a process that can take years — with the goal of speeding up border processing and reducing court backlogs. ‘immigration. This new policy is due to come into effect on May 28, but will initially only apply to a small number of migrants until they can speed up processing.

Prior to the pandemic, migrants encountered near the border were screened by the agency’s asylum officers for fear of persecution. Those who passed the initial review would have their cases transferred to immigration courts, where a judge would decide whether they qualified for asylum or other protection and could remain in the United States. In the meantime, they were detained or released pending a final hearing that could take months or years.

Under the revamped asylum system and with the lifting of Title 42, migrants would be allowed to re-submit their case, but the process will be faster.

San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kate Morrissey contributed to this report.

Los Angeles Times

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