As Beege pointed out last week, the Biden administration won a battle in court which will put an end to Title 42 as a means of turning back migrants at the border. As of the judge’s order, the clock is now ticking with the pandemic-era rule set to expire on December 21.
The Nov. 15 order from Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia paves the way for migrants to claim asylum for the first time since early in the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. The measure has been kept in place amid concerns that canceling it could lead to thousands more people making their way to the U.S. border. But Judge Sullivan concluded there was no basis for continuing the policy, which he said did not control the spread of the coronavirus and forced migrants to return to countries where some of them might face grave danger.
A group of 15 states filed a motion Monday to fight the judge’s decision but there’s no telling how that will turn out. Since it was implemented in March 2020 about 2 million migrants have been turned away under Title 42. Now that it is set to end in less than four weeks, there’s a real possibility it’s going to result in significantly more chaos at the border.
Experts in the immigration field say they’re expecting a stressful and chaotic transition when a court-ordered deadline to end the Trump directive is hit, one that could drive a new rush to the border and intensify GOP criticism.
“The view of most people who have looked at this is that whenever Title 42 is lifted, it will create a major operational challenge,” said Doris Meissner, director of the Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. immigration policy program. “The real question in my mind is, how quickly can the appropriate procedures be restored and put into place so that that challenge is minimized?”
What’s likely to happen is that lots of people who weren’t able to file asylum claims before will be filing them now. And as word goes out that asylum claims are once again being accepted, that is likely to create another surge of migrants. In fact, since the ruling there is already pressure building in Mexico to move large numbers of migrants north:
Thousands of migrants are camping in squalid conditions in a remote southern Mexican town after U.S. and Mexican authorities implemented new policies aimed at stemming the illegal flow of Venezuelans into the United States.
Located on a muddy sports field in San Pedro Tapanatepec in Oaxaca state, the camp is the largest in recent Mexican history according to advocates. About 12,000 people, largely from Venezuela, are sleeping on wooden crates under white canopy tents, on sidewalks or in residents’ houses and backyards…
On Tuesday night, after a U.S. judge ruled unlawful a pandemic-era order known as Title 42 used to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants to Mexico, municipal authorities encouraged migrants to form a caravan to head north.
The authorities said they had threatened to empty the camp by organizing caravans unless the federal government dismantles it soon.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is hoping to send enough resources to the border to meet the challenge.
In requesting a five-week delay, the DOJ said the Department of Homeland Security needed the extra time to find resources to prepare for the transition from Title 42 to Title 8 processing.
The resource gaps likely have to do with the need for officers to screen and process the influx of asylum seekers, said Greg Chen, senior director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. There’s also great concern about the immigration courts, which ended fiscal year 2022 with a 1.9-million-case backlog, according to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research organization at Syracuse University.
I’d estimate there is a 0.0 chance that the Biden administration can do much of anything to lower glut of asylum cases that are already in the system. The NY Times reported back in September that the current backlog means migrants wait an average of seven years for their case to be heard:
At a modest hotel a few miles from the ocean here, most of the rooms have been occupied this summer by families from African countries seeking asylum — 192 adults and 119 children in all.
They are among the more than one million undocumented immigrants who have been allowed into the country temporarily after crossing the border during President Biden’s tenure, part of a record-breaking cascade of irregular migration around the world.
Distinct from the hundreds of thousands who have entered the country undetected during Mr. Biden’s term, many of the one million are hoping for asylum — a long shot — and will have to wait seven years on average before a decision on their case is reached because of the nation’s clogged immigration system.
Migrants, activists and the Biden administration know that the current asylum system isn’t really about determining who gets asylum. That’s really just a legal sideshow happening on top of the real system. The real system is to provide a convenient pretext for millions of people who have no real chance of being granted asylum (because they are nearly all economic migrants) to enter the country and live here indefinitely anyway. Even if they do go to court and a judge eventually tells them to leave the country, most of them won’t. Nearly all of them will stay in the US and because they are no longer living near the border, nothing will be done about it unless they are convicted of a felony.
You can’t blame the migrants for wanting to be here instead of Venezuela or Guatemala or wherever else they are coming from. If the system is set up so that they can lie a little bit and then live here semi-legally for as long as they want, they are going to keep doing that. And that means we could see another 2 million migrants at the border over the next fiscal year. The caravans are probably already forming.
The remaining part of the system which progressives are unhappy with is the brief stop at the border before asylum seekers get released.
With an influx of people and a bogged-down system, migrants could spend months in detention centers — another part of the system the administration is likely ramping up in preparation, Chen said. These facilities have been criticized for dangerous overcrowding, health and hygiene problems, as well as hampered legal access.
Expanding the use of detention on people arriving at the border is “highly contentious,” Chen said. “It is a system that is very much lacking in adequate oversight to ensure that people are treated humanely.”
With the end of Title 42, we will likely see another increase in the number of people showing up to claim asylum. The progressives who support this broken process will moan about the overcrowding created by the incentives they put in place. In addition, they’ll whine every time a southern state dares to send a bus full of migrants to a sanctuary city up north. The current process suits them fine so long as they don’t have to be responsible for dealing with any of the migrants who turn up to take advantage of it.