Trump-era order Biden uses to refuse most migrants | Children’s rights news

In recent weeks, images of Crowded American facilities full of children who arrived alone at the southern border of the country with Mexico and in search of protection.

The scenes put pressure on the administration of Joe Biden, who has mobilized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) respond and authorize the use of military bases and other makeshift facilities to accommodate unaccompanied minors as their cases are processed.

But Biden and other U.S. government officials also told reporters that while an exception has been made for unaccompanied children – several thousand of whom remain in U.S. institutions – the US-Mexico border is also closed.

“The message is quite clear: do not come”, Alejandro Majorkas, Secretary for Internal Security said in an ABC News interview last month. “The border is closed. The border is secure. We are evicting families. We are deporting single adults. “

In February alone, US authorities sent more than 72,000 people across the southern border.

To do this, the Biden administration is using a public health policy first invoked by former President Donald Trump last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, under which US borders were effectively sealed at most migrants and asylum seekers.

Here, in part one of a series on the situation on the US-Mexico border, Al Jazeera explains how the process, known as Title 42, is applied, how it takes into account the recent increase in arrivals and what immigration experts say. the Biden administration must do now.

What is Title 42?

The Trump administration in March of last year invoked Title 42 – a public health provision of the U.S. Code that has been in effect for decades – to allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other authorities to quickly deny entry to most migrants without legal authorization to enter the country.

the ordered, which did not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or foreign citizens with a valid travel document or visa waiver, “is necessary to protect public health,” the Centers for United States Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Deportees do not receive deportation orders, but CBP collects their biometric data and records their contact with the agency,” the American Immigration Council Explain.

Families stand by a field in La Joya, Texas, after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico on a raft on March 25 [Adrees Latif/Reuters]

What effect has Title 42 had?

Trump’s use of Title 42 policy has prevented most migrants and asylum seekers from entering or seeking protection in the United States, as thousands were quickly deported to Mexico or their country original.

Between March and September 2020, nearly 205,000 people were deported under Title 42 at the southern border of the United States, while more than 190,000 were deported in October, November and December of last year, according to CBP . statistics.

“The US legal obligation – national and international – to allow individuals to seek asylum is repealed every day this policy deportes people across the border,” Karen Musalo, director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at the UC Hastings law, told Al Jazeera.

Does the Biden administration still apply Title 42?

Yes, but it made an important change: While Title 42 still applies to most families and single adults arriving at the border, unaccompanied children now do. exempt and are being held in the United States.

A U.S. judge ruled in November that the Trump administration could not turn away unaccompanied children under Title 42 and issued an injunction. Then, on January 29, a court ruled A stay, essentially allowing the government to reimpose the ban on children – but the Biden administration chose not to do so.

On February 2, Biden too ordered a review of “Trump administration proclamations, rules and policy documents that effectively closed the US border to asylum seekers” as part of a wider thrust to reverse some of the most divisive policies of its predecessor.

How many people were kicked out using Title 42 under Biden?

In February, the first full month of Biden’s presidency, more than 72,000 people were deported to the southwest border under Title 42, out of a total of 100,441 people arrested, according to CBP. The data.

The border agency says that of these global apprehensions, 19,236 people were in family units; 71,598 were single adults and 9,597 were unaccompanied minors.

Are families evicted?

Yes, but not all. Politifact reported that 7,900 people considered to be family units were among those expelled under Title 42.

Axios too reported This month, from March 14 to 21, “only an average of 13 percent of the nearly 13,000 family members who attempted to cross the US-Mexico border were returned to Mexico” under the policy.

NBC News has reported that Mexico is not picking up certain families with children six and under in a certain area of ​​the US border due to limited capacity.

“Our policy remains that families are evicted, and in situations where eviction is not possible due to Mexico’s inability to receive the families, they are placed in a removal procedure,” said a door. -speak of the Department of Homeland Security to Axios.

Children lie inside a capsule at the Donna Department of Homeland Security Detention Center, the primary detention center for unaccompanied minors in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas on March 30. [Dario Lopez-Mills/Pool via AP Photo]

Where are people sent?

Musalo said that while Mexico typically picks up people from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, it does not allow most migrants from other countries to return. Instead, the United States returns these asylum seekers in often dangerous situations to their countries of origin.

“For example, in the middle of violence in Haiti, we see planes of Haitian asylum seekers being sent back to Haiti, ”she said. “It’s very, very disturbing.”

Does Title 42 encourage people to cross the border again and again?

Tens of thousands of people have sought entry into the United States this year, with U.S. media reporting on Friday that more than 171,000 migrants have been taken into police custody along the southern border in March only.

Danilo Zak, senior policy and advocacy associate at the National Immigration Forum, told Al Jazeera that repeated crossings of mostly single adults from Mexico are driving up the total number of arrivals. The recurrence rate between March 20 last year and February 4, 2021 was 38%, CBP recently reported.

“Under Title 42, because there is so little treatment, it’s really about getting people out as quickly as possible,” Zak said.

“There are no additional penalties for repeat and unauthorized cruisers. People are sent back within an hour and a half to two hours instead of days, which means they can just try to cross the border again or try to cross the border in some other way. “

What is happening now?

The Biden administration said it plans to work for tackle the ‘root causes’ of migration from Mexico and Central America, and provide more resources – and hundreds of millions of dollars in aid – to help alleviate systemic problems in those countries. He continues to tell migrants and asylum seekers not to come to the United States.

Meanwhile, UC Hastings’ Musalo, who is involved in a lawsuit alleging the Title 42 policy is illegal, said the outcome of that legal challenge is still pending.

Some observers have worried what a complete cancellation of the policy would mean, given how overburdened the US government is already a recent influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border. But Musalo said the Biden administration had a legal obligation to act.

“When you have a legal obligation… that’s no excuse to say, ‘Hey, it’s going to take us a while to get things done’. You have this legal obligation. You shouldn’t send people back to the persecution, and you should do whatever it takes to allow people to enter.

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