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  • Writer's pictureEmily Zavala

The Biden Administration’s Fight at the U.S.–Mexico Border

Under Title 42, implemented by the Trump Administration, the U.S. Border Patrol could restrict more immigration into the states. (Jerry Glaser/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr)

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we have seen a steady rise in cases. Not only has the pandemic affected the United States economically, socially, and politically, but it has had significant effects on migrants at the U.S.–Mexico border. The border crisis has been highly disputed between both parties and many approaches have been discussed regarding the most effective way to confront the current crisis.

Since his inauguration, President Biden has claimed that he would take a different approach to handling the border crisis from former President Trump. According to the Biden Administration, he has promised to “modernize America’s immigration system, implement effective border screening, and take urgent action.”

Title 42 Controversy

Although Biden hoped to carry out plans contrary to the Trump Administration on the immigration crisis on the U.S.–Mexico border, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted much progress.

Because of the pandemic’s spread in 2020, Title 42 was put in place under the Trump Administration to tackle the spread of the virus. The federal code is used “to prohibit migrants from entering the country if it is determined that doing so could prevent the spread of contagious diseases.” Title 42 has prevented many migrants from coming into the United States for the past two years, causing much controversy. Many supporters of the policy have claimed that it was essential in preventing further spreading of the virus. One of the reasons the policy was enforced was to stop the spread of the virus at the border and at facilities that held incoming migrants.

Others have argued that Title 42 was used not only to stop the spread of the virus, but also to prevent more migrants from entering the United States. Under Title 42, many immigrants seeking refuge were sent back and denied entry by border control officers.

President Biden announced that his team would be ending the use of the Title 42 policy because of the decrease in COVID-19 cases and increased vaccine distribution. The CDC approved of removing the migration policy. The administration’s hope was to render the policy fully inactive by late May. Although this was the projected date, Title 42 is still effective due to the expected increase in migrants waiting at the border. The Biden Administration has made some progress as they have exempted minors from the ongoing policy.

Biden has expressed the intent to keep pushing for the termination of the use of Title 42 to return to Title 8, a policy regularly used before COVID-19 that granted asylum and refuge to immigrants at the border. The end of Title 42 would see a decrease in migrant arrests at the border, which have increased to almost 1,800,000. The expected number of migrants will double, but the Biden Administration plans on providing vaccines at the border and predicts a decrease in the migrant expulsions that have been seen under Title 42.

President Biden ultimately plans on reversing many of President Trump’s stricter policies that were enforced during his term. Many critics fear that the President is allowing more migrants to come into the country, including those who have no legal access. Biden has expressed his main goal as decreasing the number of expulsions that occurred during President Trump’s presidency. Over 80 percent of migrant expulsions occurred at the U.S. border with Mexico during his presidency, and by changing the policy in use, Biden hopes to decrease the expulsion record and allow processing and refuge to more migrants.

As President Biden continues to alter the previous federal stance on the border crisis, many say this is a possible threat to national security and integrity. On the other hand, supporters believe that changing federal attitudes toward immigration at the border is justifiable. At the moment, Biden is still fighting to change the policy and allow refuge for more migrants.



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