The Supreme Court of the United States approved the extension of Title 42, which allows deporting immigrants quickly
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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19 states of the American Union with governments in republican states had requested the US justice to maintain title 42. And that was precisely what the Supreme Court (controlled by a conservative majority) granted last Monday, when the measure was about to expire.
Title 42 was a measure imposed by former President Donald Trump 3 years ago. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration allowed this measure that would expedite the expulsion of undocumented migrants from North American soil who arrived at the southern border they share with Mexico.
Title 42 is the legal norm that former President Donald Trump promulgated in March 2020 as a tool for the US government to prevent the arrival of undocumented migrants. At the time, the Republican leader's excuse was to prevent the arrival of people infected with the coronavirus. He argued that this health measure would allow the vulnerable population to be protected.
However, 3 years later, and with most of the pandemic restrictions lifted, title 42 only remains as a political measure. Since then, several members of the Republican Party have called for preserving the norm to control the arrival of undocumented people, despite the status or vulnerability that these migrants have. In 2021 alone, the regulations allowed the rapid return of 60% (107,000 migrants) of those who arrived at the border.
This norm allows citizens of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the origin of the largest migratory flows on the southern border in the past, to return expressly. However, today, this corridor is used by a greater number of nationalities. However, there are 2.4 million people expelled to Mexico quickly through the regulation (people can be expelled on many occasions).
Precisely, Emmet Sullivan, a federal district judge, declared that the measure was not only inhumane, since it put thousands of migrants in a dangerous situation or in the situation of being deported, but that it should be lifted. This decision was also upheld by an appeals court.
Records of Migrants at the Southern Border
Despite the fact that most defenders of Title 42 fear that with the end of this title, illegal migration would increase (even double), there are records that indicate that this measure has not reduced migrants. According to the NGO the Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA) that investigates human rights issues in the region, since the start of Trump's measure, migration has increased. The power to quickly deport illegal immigrants has not prevented them from continuing to arrive in the country. Even since its implementation, the number of encounters and detentions of adults at the border has gone from 20,000 to more than 150,000.
In addition, in the cases in which Title 42 has not encouraged a greater arrival of undocumented migrants, it has not reduced their number either. Therefore, many consider that this measure (initially imposed as a health standard) does not solve any of the problems that exist with the migratory crisis.
In recent months, there have even been historical records of migrants captured at the southern border and in Mexico itself by the Mexican authorities. This, since at the same time the number of non-Central American migrants has increased, with Haiti and Venezuela being the countries that lead these figures.
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However, WOLA warns that what has been registered is an increase in the deaths of migrants captured after Title 42. In 2020 (the year in which the norm was passed) there were 247 deaths, the lowest number in the last 25 years; but in 2021 and 2022 the records were recorded: 557 and 853 (respectively) deaths, well above the 491 deaths in 2006, the old record.
The Biden Administration's Stance
While it is true that the Democratic discourse is against a rule that expels undocumented migrants indiscriminately, they are in favor of reducing the number of people trying to cross the border with Mexico. This is why Joe Biden had promised to replace Title 42 with an immigration policy that can assess the true risks of migrants and thus provide asylum to those who face danger and persecution in their countries of origin.
The images of thousands of migrants crowded into detention centers along and across the border is a clear example of the difficult reality faced by those who seek a better future. Washington today points to a plan to reduce times and expedite the resolution of asylum requests. Today, according to the newspaper El País from Spain, there are 1.7 million asylum cases that are unresolved due to the saturation of the US judicial system.