More than six months after taking office as US president, Joe Biden continues to use a measure by Donald Trump’s administration to deport migrants during the coronavirus pandemic, despite promises to overturn the rules adopted by his predecessor.
The end of the so-called “Title 42” was even more distant with the renewal of the measure for an additional 60 days published this Monday (2), by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rule is being treated as a public health order and cites “serious concerns about the introduction of Covid-19 into the United States” as justification for the immediate deportation of people who attempt to enter the country in violation of the restrictions travel or illegally.
Currently, the United States is experiencing a new record of cases due to the delta variant, first identified in India and more contagious. The outbreak prompted the country to resume some of the Covid-19 containment measures, such as the use of masks.
At the same time, the Biden administration finds itself under pressure with the most people crossing the Mexican border in 20 years. The number of times border officials apprehended migrants crossing the border illegally in June was higher for a month since April 2000 – July is expected to be even higher.
The demands come from both Democrats and more liberal political supporters calling for an end to the measure – they say, used more as a politically defensible means to limit migration than to protect public health – and from Republicans who want to keep it. , arguing that the southern border is in crisis.
To further increase the pressure on the Democratic president, the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) also announced on Monday a process to force the administration to end the measure after negotiations stalled.
The Biden administration even considered, a few weeks ago, relaxing the standard for families until the end of July and, later, for single adults, who have made up the majority of those deported since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement, pro-migrant groups classified Title 42 as “inhuman” and “illegal” and said the Biden administration left no choice but a legal dispute. “Management chooses to treat refugees like political pawns, so we look forward to going back to court so that we can end Title 42 for Families once and for all,” said Noah Gottschalk, Global Policy Officer at Oxfam America, one of the organizations involved in the process.
In the lawsuit, management responded that blocking the rule now would place a greater burden on the migration system and overcrowding and more dangerous conditions at border settlements. This overcrowding would make it difficult to impose precautionary measures such as social distancing, the administration said, noting that more migrants have received positive results for the coronavirus, as well as border officials.
David Shahoulian, deputy secretary for border and migration policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said in the process that keeping public health in order is seen as essential given the current conditions. He did not, however, provide specific numbers of positive border tests.
The foster care system is already under pressure from the high number of unaccompanied children arriving in the United States. While the immediate deportation measure is used against families and adults, only minors are referred to border establishments.
As of Sunday, more than 2,200 children were in the custody of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than double the amount recorded a month earlier, according to data compiled by the Reuters news agency.
The CBP spokesperson explained that this number includes Mexican children who quickly returned to their country, as well as Central Americans who were transferred to federal shelters in the United States.
In the document sent to the process, Shahoulian said about 19,000 children were unaccompanied by border officials in July.
With the New York Times and Reuters