The government confirmed that it will continue to expel migrants at the southern border of the United States for health reasons through the expedited deportation enabled under Title 42.
This Monday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that it will go back with its plans to lift the health measure known as Title 42 and will continue to apply deportation for health purposes. This is due to fears of a new spike in coronavirus infections.
Over the past few months, with a record number of undocumented migrants attempting to cross the southern border of the United State, the Biden administration has maintained the order that allows expedited deportation for health reasons, inherited from the previous administration. Despite protests from pro-immigration allied sectors, government spokesmen repeatedly noted that the order served a necessary function in a pandemic context.
However, in the last few weeks, the government expressed its intentions to lift the order. For many critics, expedited deportation through Title 42 was less a measure to protect public health than a politically correct way to remove migrants. Now, the CDC insists that allowing the uncontrolled entry of migrants across the border creates danger of dispersal of new variants of the virus.
The delta factor: the danger of new variants
The recent global spread of the highly contagious delta variant has reinforced the argument for the need to maintain a sanitary measure such as rapid deportation under Title 42 to minimize the entry of people into the country. In addition, the rapid spread of this new variant of the virus comes at a critical time for border agents, who say they are overwhelmed and argue that lifting this measure would only worsen a delicate humanitarian crisis situation.
However, even though the Democratic government has used the rule to quickly expel single adults and even many migrant families, the measure has not been applied to migrant children arriving unaccompanied.
Pressures to abolish swift deportation from pro-immigration sectors
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated a lawsuit against the Biden administration hoping to force its hand to lift the order for migrant families. According to an ACLU member, the organization held unsuccessful negotiations for months to try to have the measure overturned.
“Now it is clear that there is no immediate plan to do that. She made repeated public statements that the administration only needs some time to rebuild the asylum system that the Trump administration destroyed. We gave them seven months. Time is up.”
Lee Gelernt, lead attorney on the ACLU case, said in an official communication Monday.
The government’s response to the ACLU’s demands
In a court filing in response to the lawsuit initiated by the ACLU, the Democratic government insisted that blocking the application of this measure will only lead to the collapse of the already overburdened immigration system and worse humanitarian conditions for migrants. The overcrowding at the southern border posts makes it very difficult to apply public health measures and basic precautions such as social distancing.
The statement also adds that more and more migrants are testing positive for coronavirus, as well as border officials. For David Shahoulian, the assistant secretary for border and immigration policies at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), maintaining the deportation order under Title 42 is crucial to preserving public health in the current circumstances.
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