Biden administration forced to maintain restrictions on border migrants

The White House, which wanted to raise the controversial “Title 42” set up during the pandemic, under Donald Trump, announced that it would appeal the court decision.

Le Monde with AFP

A federal judge of Louisiana prevented the administration of Joe Biden on Friday, May 20 from lifting a health measure implemented by the Trump government during the pandemic to be able to expel the migrants without visa the land borders without visa- United. The authorities wished to raise on May 23 this device called “Title 42”, very controversial because it notably prevents asylum seekers from formulating their request, but the republican governors of 24 states opposing it had seized justice.

“The court concludes that complainant states have met the conditions” to obtain its provisional maintenance, wrote judge Robert Summerhays in his decision on Friday. These “complainant states” say in particular that the lifting of this measure would cause an increase in border passages and therefore an increase in the number of migrants residing clandestinely on their soil. The Biden government immediately announced its decision to appeal.

The “Title 42” is a public health measure which was adopted in 1893 to protect the United States from the many epidemics of cholera and yellow fever that occurred at the time. It was only very rarely implemented thereafter. In March 2020, the government of ex-president Donald Trump had activated this health device which allows the migrants to be expelled without delay without residence permitted at land borders.

a counter-productive device

This measurement is applicable immediately and does not allow legal recourse, even for those who wish to file an asylum application. Rare exceptions are planned, for certain nationalities such as Ukrainians since the invasion of their country by Russia, or for unaccompanied minors. Since the entry into force, the device has been used more than 1.8 million times.

Human rights militants feared the maintenance of “Title 42” which, paradoxically, is translated into them by an increase in attempts to illegally cross the border between Mexico. Because there are no legal or judicial consequences for migrants expelled as part of this device, which can try their luck as much as they wish. But accidents – dehydration in the desert, drownings, falls crossing the wall – make many injured and dead, they deplore.

States wishing to maintain the “Title 42” evoked on their side apocalyptic figures, saying that the number of attempts to cross the border would jump from 7,000 per day to more than 18,000 if the health measure was lifting. They assure that many of these migrants without a visa, of which 30,000 to 60,000 are heard in northern Mexico to wait for the border opening, would escape the arrests of the border guards.

a very political subject

The Biden government recognized in early May to expect a massive influx of migrants, but the Minister of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said he was ready to manage this pressure on the Mexican border. He had also hammered a clear message to candidates for illegal immigration: “do not come”.

In the last three weeks of April, US borders had arrested an average of 7,800 migrants every day. It is almost five times more than the average of 1,600 migrants recorded between 2014 and 2019, before the pandemic. A few months before the mid-term elections in November, Republicans and Democrats agree that there is a problem.

The White House talks about a “defaulting” immigration system that Congress must repair, while its republican opponents accuse Mr. Biden of failing to protect the southern border of the country.

/Media reports.