Title 42 Expires on May 11th and Still no Political Imagination for Reform

Chamba SanchezBy Chamba SanchezMay 8, 2023
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Title 42 is scheduled to expire on May 11th. And immigration authorities will immediately start using Title 8 of the United States Code to deal with the thousands of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Majorkas, told reporters, “Our border is not open and will not be open after May 11th.” He spent this past weekend at the border using harsh language for those migrants who dare to cross the border. He also recognized that Unlike Title 42, Title 8 mandates the U.S. to give migrants a preliminary interview to those requesting asylum.

It is rumored that many smugglers in Latin American countries are telling migrants that once Title 42 ends on May 11th, getting into the United States will be a lot easier. Consequently, politicians in Washington from both political parties expect a “surge” in the number of migrants trying to come into the United States. Expeditiously, President Biden dispatched 1,500 troops to the southern border.

The economic and political problems in Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela have motivated people to leave these countries and head to the United States. They are fleeing persecution, poverty, oppression, and unstable political systems. People from these countries have swollen the number of people trying to enter the United States.

It has been widely reported that since 2019 nearly 3 million migrants were immediately expelled without processing their asylum claims using Title 42, even when the majority of them had well-documented persuasive cases.

According to Secretary Alejandro Majorka, On May 12th, a day after Title 42 has expired, an underaged child who arrives at the border will be taken into custody and transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services. Then, an effort to find a relative or a sponsor will be made so that child can be released. Secretary Majorkas contends this process is not a loophole but a humanitarian component of the law. He further stated that a family that arrives at the border after Title 42 has expired and has not filed for asylum in other countries as required will immediately be placed in removal proceedings. And individuals removed using Title 8 will be punished with a five-year ban for re-admission to the United States.

Secretary Majorkas makes it sound like everything is under control, but that conflicts with what goes on the ground. It is widely known that there are two million asylum cases in the backlog.  Immigrants who were bused to New York have gotten court dates until 2033. This is woefully insane and unacceptable. This scenario is an utter display of a broken immigration system crying out for a legislative solution.

President Biden is trying to strike a balance between stopping migrants from coming to the U.S. border with unrealistic opportunities for migrants to enter the U.S. legally. His administration is proposing to open processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia.

The Biden Administration is telling reporters that these centers will provide opportunities for family reunification programs and financial support to fight smugglers.

Although the Biden Administration is still developing details, those efforts will surely defy logic and will not do much to discourage migrants from getting into migrant caravans and taking the long journey to the U.S. border.

The asylum system was created by the Refugee Act of 1980. The U.S. agreed and promised to take people from all over the world facing persecution.  Trump and the Biden administration ignored the Refugee Act and created chaos or misery in migrants’ lives when sent to Mexico or their original countries. Now that Title 42 is about to expire, anyone who wants to apply for asylum can do so once at a port of entry or in the United States. Indeed, migrants who can successfully make it to any port of entry have the legal right to request asylum.

The presidential election is moving full steam ahead with candidates using anti-immigrant rhetoric in pursuing voters. President Biden made it official last week that he was running for re-election. Astonishingly, he didn’t even mention the issue of immigration. It is not hard to extrapolate what the future holds for the issue of immigration. No reform anytime soon.

When President Biden was a presidential candidate, he enthusiastically supported an immigration plan on his very first day in office. Once elected President and Democrats controlled both houses, the promise of immigration reform went unfulfilled again. In the face of electoral pressure, President Biden used former President Trump’s inhumane policies, which he once harshly criticized as a presidential candidate.   Advocates for immigrants appear incapable of breaking out of this vicious cycle with Democrats who claim to be their friends.

Unequivocally, our immigration system is indisputably broken and will not disappear until both parties are willing to spend political capital and use their political imagination to solve it.

The issue of immigration has been robustly discussed in Washington this past week. Nonetheless, There was nothing about proposing reform or providing opportunities to hard-working immigrants working in this country for a better future for their families while contributing to this country.

The current conversation in Congress and the White House is about strategizing how to make it more difficult for migrants at the border. So this potential “surge” at the border with Mexico can be more manageable.

Thank you for reading

Chamba Sanchez
Teaches Politics at Los Angeles Community College District


Photo Credit: Pictures used purchased from Stockphoto.














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