Title 42 is a public-health order that allows border agents to quickly expel illegal border-jumpers without a hearing, so as to keep them from spreading the Wuhan coronavirus. According to Mark Krikorian, it is the only one of Trump’s border initiatives that Team Biden has partly kept in place. The administration has exempted all “unaccompanied” minors from the policy, as well as most families, but continues to use it to turn away single adults.
But with the pandemic petering out, Title 42 seems unsustainable. The CDC is bound to revoke the authorization soon.
Ending Title 42 expulsions will entail detaining these single undocumented adults, instead of turning them away. That will require more jail space. And the problem will be compounded by the fact that ending the expulsions will surely lead to an even bigger surge of illegal immigration at the border.
How will the Biden administration respond? The Wall Street Journal reports that it is considering putting more families through a process known as expedited removal, which allows border agents to deport migrants without a hearing or a chance to appeal.
That sounds good. However, Krikorian points out that “expedited removal” can occur only if the illegal immigrants don’t claim they fear returning to their country. Once they remember to make that claim, the government is required to start the asylum process (or, as Krikorian characterizes it, “charade”).
Given the certainty that asylum proceedings will increase significantly, the administration is considering a new system that would let these cases be heard by asylum officers, rather than immigration judges, within weeks of crossing the border. This would shorten the time required for a decision.
However, as Krikorian says, “whether it’s weeks or years, unless asylum applicants are held in detention, they’re not going to leave [on their own] if they lose.” And, as the Wall Street Journal acknowledges, Biden’s liberal allies will not accept any changes in the system that lead to more deportations.
Here, is the reality, as expressed by Krikorian:
Asylum is the loophole that renders moot the entire body of immigration law. There is no possibility of regaining control over immigration without either detaining all asylum-seekers until they receive a decision, and deporting those who don’t qualify, or making them wait in Mexico for their hearing date.
The Biden administration refuses to do either, and so the border crisis the president created by ending Trump’s Remain in Mexico program will continue.