Social Issues

Migrants fear US will tighten restrictions post-Title 42

Tapachula, Mexico, May 13 (EFE).- Some among the hundreds of third-country migrants who find themselves stuck in this city on Mexico’s southern border fear that gaining admission to the United States will become more difficult with the end of Title 42, a measure that has seen immigration authorities summarily deport 2.8 million asylum-seekers over the last three years.

Marcos Farias, an Ecuadorian whose factory job didn’t pay enough to make ends meet, told EFE that it took him only a few minutes to cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala to Mexico in a makeshift boat.

And though determined to reach the US, he is concerned that far from opening the border, the expiration of Title 42 will be accompanied by more restrictions on immigration.

Title 42 is a provision of a 1944 public health law that allows the exclusion of individuals when “there is serious danger of the introduction of (a communicable) disease into the United States.”

In 2020, then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, invoked Title 42 to order the immediate expulsion of foreigners arriving at the border to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But when the US pandemic public health emergency lapsed at midnight Thursday, Title 42 was no longer applicable, and the asylum process went back to being regulated by Title 8 of immigration law.

Under Title 8, asylum applicants who are turned down can face not only deportation, but years-long bans on trying again.

“Really they should give an opportunity to we migrants who are half-way” to the US, Farias said. “There are fewer opportunities because with Title 42, you could appear in court and all that, but now I think not, now it’s direct deportation.”

A Venezuelan man, Davison Insiarde, told EFE that he and others in Tapachula are trying to organize a caravan to begin the journey north to the US border because they fear a crackdown by Mexico’s INM immigration agency.

“We don’t know where they are taking people. We don’t know what is going to happen to us. There is a lot of risk,” he said.

On the border with Guatemala, a Mexican immigration agent told EFE that the INM has not adopted any special measures to deal with the end of Title 42. EFE jmb/dr

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