Legal Challenges Complicate Border Plan Post-Title 42

May 12, 2023

Last-minute court challenges amid the end of the pandemic-era Title 42 border expulsion policy are reportedly complicating how new border policies will play out.

Title 42 ended Thursday evening along with the Covid-19 national public health emergency.

In anticipation of an influx of migrants at the border the Biden Administration put new policies in place and deployed some 1,500 active duty troops to aid the 24,000 law enforcement officers on the border.

Those policies included establishing more migrant processing centers while at the same time imposing a new restriction stating that as of Thursday, migrants caught crossing the border illegally would not be allowed to return for five years. They can face criminal prosecution if they attempt to do so.

The White House has also struck a deal with Mexico’s government that would allow the U.S. to deport thousands of non-Mexican migrants to Mexico each month, as long as the U.S. also accepts a similar number of migrants through new legal pathways.

Just before Title 42 was set to expire Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a legal challenge to the new asylum restrictions, claiming they violate U.S. laws and international agreements. 

The ACLU had successfully blocked Trump Administration rules they say are similar to those put in place by Biden’s Administration. The organization has asked the same California judge from the Trump era to block the new laws as well. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the new regulations Friday morning, saying amid a series of TV interviews that the policies aim to encourage migrants to enter through legal pathways rather than cross over from Mexico illegally. 

Mayorkas called a decision by a federal judge in Florida hours before Title 42 ended “very harmful.” U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell sided with Florida state lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) by ordering the federal government to stand down from its plan to “parole” migrants crossing the border through Texas. 

A reported 190,000 people were waiting at the Southern border ahead of Thursday’s lifting of Title 42.

Border Patrol officials said their agents have been averaging about 1,100 arrests per day this month along the El Paso border, which is popular with Venezuelan migrants seeking asylum. On Wednesday, more than 2,000 migrants were arrested there.

Along the entire U.S-Mexico border, about 25,000 people had been taken into custody as of Wednesday, according to Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.

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