The U.S. government is poised to deal with a potential influx of migrants next month after lifting restrictions that allowed migrants detained at the border to be immediately deported for two years, officials said on Tuesday.
The Joe Biden administration will implement a “comprehensive strategy” to deal with an increase in arrivals of asylum seekers and refugees following the May 23 scheduled end of this device called “Title 42,” these sources said.
Migrants can then apply for humanitarian leave, a move critics say could overwhelm border officials and allow hundreds of thousands of migrants to remain on US soil while their applications are reviewed.
Those who have no reason to be admitted into the United States, particularly if they attempt to cross the border multiple times, could be prosecuted, law enforcement officials nuance.
“Put simply, if Title 42 is lifted, asylum and other legal migration avenues will remain open to those seeking protection, and those who do not meet the criteria will be expeditiously deported,” a senior official summarized the condition of anonymity.
The Biden administration, aware of a Louisiana judge’s intention to stay the repeal of “Title 42” introduced by former Republican President Donald Trump, has indicated it will honor that court decision when it becomes official.
But such an order from the judge “would not be logical” because it would “prevent us from adequately preparing for the systematic implementation of migration law” when the health situation no longer justifies the application of these COVID-19-related restrictions.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has claimed that these measures are “no longer necessary” due to “the greater availability of tools to combat COVID-19.”
Migration flows, which had fallen sharply early in the pandemic, had picked up again before Joe Biden took office more than a year ago, but picked up significantly thereafter.
Most migrants come from Central and Latin America, but some even come from South Asia and recently Ukraine.
US government officials have said they are increasing cooperation with Central American countries to slow the flow of migrants, return migrants to their countries and expand the fight against smuggling groups.
However, they acknowledged that the presence of large migrant camps on the Mexico side of the southern border could lead to a rapid increase in arrivals if Title 42 is lifted.