The Department of Homeland Security plans to comply with a federal court order, and will no longer try to lift Title 42, the “remain in Mexico” policy.
A senior administration official told reporters Tuesday they will comply with the order, although they disagree with the basic premise.
Title 42 prevents asylum seekers from entering the United States, forcing them to make asylum claims from Mexico or another country.
Lower courts have stalled ongoing efforts by the Biden administration to overturn the Covid-era policy. A federal judge signaled he will temporarily block the administration’s efforts to lift Title 42 on May 23.
“It has serious consequences, for those coming here, and for Mexico. Also for our political debate because this decision is going to further polarize the political environment leading up to the November elections,” said Eduardo Gamarra, Political Science Professor of Florida International University.
Supporters of Title 42 believe it helps to deter migration, and opponents argue it puts lives at risk, forcing migrants fleeing persecution or violence, to remain in dangerous situations at the border while their cases move through the U.S. courts.
“When people are sent back to Mexico, they're targeted by the cartels for kidnapping and extortion of their family members in the US. It doesn’t give anyone any real chance to seek asylum or protection bc they’re constantly targeted and tortured,” said one opponent.
Dozens gathered outside the Supreme Court Tuesday, where SCOTUS heard oral arguments on the case.
Many in South Florida say Title 42 is not the solution to the ongoing challenges on the border.
“The Congress and the White House has to do more than debate if Title 42 is a viable option,” said Tomas Regalado, President, Inter-American Institute for Democracy. “We should start with an immigration law, we don’t have one and haven’t had one for decades, we need to have some kind of guidance and we need to have control in the borders.”
Title 42 was implemented as a public health policy at the beginning of the pandemic, one the CDC says is no longer necessary. It’s estimated Title 42 has prevented 1.7 million attempts to cross the U.S. border.