Title 42, a polarizing Trump-era policy that allowed for the rapid expulsion of asylum seekers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to expire at midnight Friday. Following its expiration, noncitizens will no longer be blocked from entering the U.S. for public health purposes under this rule, which has been used more than 2.8 million times since March 2020 to swiftly expel migrants to Mexico or their home countries without allowing them to seek asylum. The end of Title 42 has raised concerns about a surge of migrants at the southern U.S.-Mexico border.
Although President Biden kept Title 42 in place initially, it was set to expire last May before a federal judge ruled that the administration could not roll back the policy while a challenge from a group of GOP-led states proceeded. However, another federal judge later ruled that Title 42 violated the Administrative Procedures Act and ordered that the administration wind down its use of the policy by late December. The Supreme Court then mandated that the rule remain in place until it heard arguments and came to a final decision.
The Biden administration officially announced in January that it would end the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, allowing Title 42 to expire as well. Although border patrol is preparing for as many as 10,000 migrants a day, the administration has unveiled a new policy that would significantly limit asylum. Under the new rule, similar to another Trump-era policy, migrants would be blocked from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they passed through another country along the way that also offers asylum. Also, the Biden administration plans to surge resources to the southern border, including 1,500 military personnel, 24,000 law enforcement personnel, and 1,100 new border patrol processing coordinators, to contain the potential fallout from Title 42’s end.
Some lawmakers have criticized the administration's approach, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema warning that Title 42's end would create a "humanitarian crisis" at the border and Rep. Tony Gonzales claiming border crossings were "getting worse." On the other hand, Sen. Bob Menéndez called Biden’s “militarization” of the border in response to the potential surge of migrants “unacceptable.”