Senate Democrats and immigration groups are urging the White House to repeal a contentious Trump-era immigration policy that authorized US agents to deport migrants and asylum seekers at the border during the outbreak. During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, “I continue to be unhappy, extremely disappointed, in the administration’s response.” The Trump government enacted Title 42 in 2020 as a mechanism to prevent refugees from requesting asylum in the United States by invoking a health catastrophe, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It also deported migrants back to their homelands.
According to US Customs and Border Protection figures, more than 1 million migrants have been deported under Title 42. According to a report provided by ICE on Friday, the Enforcement and Removal Operations division of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out 36,654 air expulsions. The Biden administration has left the policy in place, but changed it to prevent unaccompanied minors from being deported.
A Texas district court declared last week that the Biden administration couldn’t exempt children from the regulation, and a Washington, D.C. appeals court concluded that the Biden administration couldn’t use Title 42 to deport migrant families to countries where they would face persecution. Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters on Thursday that the Biden administration should defend “its original judgment to prevent children from being evacuated.”
“We are not a nation that expels children,” he added, adding that Title 42 “is neither humanitarian nor productive in controlling migration.” According to documents obtained by Buzzfeed News, top officials at the Department of Homeland Security are going to inform Mexico that the program might be phased out as early as April. Menendez said he and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to address Title 42 and other immigration laws, but had not yet received a response.
He also suggested that the White House instruct the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to extend the policy, which was put in place as a public health safeguard. Every 60 days, the CDC decides whether or not to maintain Title 42 in place. The next decision will be made on April 1st. “Our attention has been on the administration, which has been depending on and implementing this policy based on the CDC finding,” he said. “I have no doubt that the CDC would follow if the government determined that they would no longer seek to apply this strategy.”
Prior to Title 42, migrants apprehended at the border may seek asylum and wait for their claims to be processed to see whether they were allowed to stay in the United States. Nanette Barragán, D-Calif., chair of the House Homeland Security Committee’s border panel, indicated on the call that a hearing on Title 42 will be held in the coming weeks. She recently convened a hearing to look into another Trump immigration policy that the Biden administration was being forced to maintain in place by a Texas federal court.
The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project’s deputy director, Lee Gelernt, said on the call that if the Title 42 policy continues in place, the organization is prepared to pursue legal action. According to him, the ACLU is pushing the Biden administration not to pursue the D.C. appeals court’s judgment and to reject the Texas verdict that would make unaccompanied youngsters subject to Title 42. “The simplest method for the administration to deal with both situations is to repeal Title 42, and we urge the administration to do so,” he said.
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According to Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, more than 20,000 migrants have been deported to Haiti under Title 42. Those escaping unstable nations, whether from Haiti or Ukraine, should be able to seek refuge in the United States, she continued.
According to several media sources, a woman and three children from Ukraine were turned away at the US-Mexico border under Title 42. Following Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, more than 2 million people have fled the nation. The family was eventually granted entry to the United States. “It’s inexcusable that President Biden and his administration continue to exploit Title 42 to deport and expel some of the most vulnerable people,” Jozef added.