US activates plan to suspend Title 42, which allows expulsion of migrants

Washington, Nov 22 (EFE).-The United States has launched a plan to end Title 42, a health measure based on combating Covid-19 and used over the past two-and-a-half years to immediately deport some 2.5 million undocumented migrants who have arrived at the southern border.

The announcement on Tuesday comes after a federal judge gave the Department of Homeland Security five months within which to suspend the policy.

DHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy Blas Nuñez-Neto said in a call with reporters that the department is “activating” its plans to end Title 42.

When the regulation put in place by former President Donald Trump is finally suspended in the coming weeks, Title 8 will become the overriding policy, a measure that allows migrants to request asylum at US entry points and gives the government the authority to deport and even impose penalties on those who do not fulfill the requirements and are thus considered ineligible for US entry.

Among the government’s plans are measures to reduce the processing times for migrants, potentially pursue reprisals against people who cross the border illegally and work with governments in the region, including Mexico, to deal with people-traffickers – known as “coyotes” – Nuñez said.

He added that there are more than 23,000 US border agents and noted that the Joe Biden administration has significantly increased its detention capabilities to be able to transport migrants and deport them.

Nuñez also said that, as part of its preparatory activities, the administration is pursuing talks with regional governments to be able to deport undocumented Venezuelans to third countries.

He said that third countries historically have been used for repatriating Venezuelans and that is something that the US will continue doing.

The US has no diplomatic relations with Venezuela at present and in early October the Biden administration reached an agreement with Mexico for it to accept expelled Venezuelan migrants who arrive illegally on the southern US border.

Last week, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington DC issued a ruling obligating the government to end Title 42, which he called “arbitrary and capricious” in violation of federal law.

Title 42 – which is set to end on Dec. 21 – has its origin in a 19th century law designed to halt “the introduction” of contagious diseases into the US.

Using the pretext of that law, the US currently is not allowing undocumented migrants to request asylum when they arrive in this country and is quickly expelling them.

The main difference between Title 42 and Title 8 is that the latter obligates US authorities to transfer undocumented migrants within hours of their arrival to detention centers where they may request asylum while the former allows authorities to deport such people within 15 minutes without allowing them to request asylum.

Judge Sullivan’s ruling not only overturns one of the last remaining barriers to illegal immigration erected by Trump but also poses a challenge to the Biden administration at a time when US authorities are detaining record numbers of undocumented migrants on the southern border.

In October alone, some 230,000 migrants were intercepted on the US-Mexico border and more than 78,400 people were deported.

Since Title 42 was invoked in March 2020, it has been used to expel more than 2.5 million migrants, according to figures compiled by the International Rescue Committee.

EFE aaca/mgr/bp

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