Uncertainty surrounding immigration policy in the wake of Title 42

US-MEXICO BORDER: Thousands of migrants attempt to enter the US as Title 42 ends. Meridith Kohut / The New York Times

Kyla Brown | Head Editor

May 19, 2023

Title 42, a border-management tool, was lifted on May 11, and the number of migrants at the US-Mexico border is expected to surge. The public-health rule was implemented by former President Donald Trump in March of 2020. Essentially, the ruling allowed border agents to process and turn away migrants seeking asylum under the guise of Covid prevention. Migrants were turned away over 2.8 million times since the implementation of Title 42. 

Before Title 42, migrants were able to illegally enter the US without facing serious legal reparations, allowing them to attempt to enter the country multiple times. That being said, it has never been easy for migrants to cross the US-Mexico border. Preceding the ruling were a variety of restrictions that, while not allowing immediate expulsion, made it difficult for people to enter the US. “I think the lifting of Title 42 should hypothetically force politicians and lawmakers to address immigration through legislation, but, considering how little agreement there is on the topic, I don’t know if that’s realistic,” senior Luka Horspool said. It has been decades since Congress passed immigration reform, and it has been increasingly difficult to unify both sides of the aisle on the topic of immigration. 

EL PASO: Migrants lining the sidewalks of the Texas city. Paul Ratje / The New York Times

In the wake of Title 42, the Biden administration has put strict measures in place in an attempt to prevent illegal border crossings. Migrants who are caught illegally crossing will now be barred from returning for five years and can face criminal persecution. The administration is turning away people who did not seek refuge in countries they passed through as well as those who have not filled out an online application before crossing. 

Although Title 42 has been lifted, many of the same issues persist at the border. Senior Kyle Franklin said “There are clearly a multitude of challenges that migrants are facing right now at the US-Mexico border. It seems that migrants are too often stripped of their humanity and treated more like political pawns than human beings.” Quota numbers and external restrictions prevent thousands of migrants from seeking the refuge they need daily. Border patrol stations are severely overcrowded, leading to the release of migrants into the US. These migrants are given instructions to appear at an immigration office within 60 days or be deported.

It is clear that US immigration policy has a long way to go. Hopefully, the uncertainty surrounding immigration policy today at the US-Mexico border will encourage lawmakers to finally take tangible action and address America’s broken immigration system.

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