End May 23rd, COVID-19 will limit asylum at the US-Mexico border

Friday's announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they are ending a policy which limited asylum at the U.S. - Mexico border in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 was made.

End May 23rd, COVID-19 will limit asylum at the US-Mexico border

According to the government, it is already planning to set up tents and other preparations for the expected influx of migrants.

Democrats and immigration advocates have widely criticised the continued use of public-health powers as an excuse for the United States not to fulfill its obligations to provide refuge to those fleeing persecution. In March 2020, President Donald Trump put into effect the policy. More than 1.7 million migrants who tried to enter the U.S. since then have been expelled.

The Title 42 authority is the policy. It's named after a 1944 law that was passed to prevent communicable diseases. To allow border officials enough time to prepare, the policy's termination will take effect May 23. The Associated Press reported the news earlier in the week.

The decision by the administration appeared to be an effort to find a compromise in a difficult situation. An immediate lifting of the asylum ban could have caused a surge in immigration and border staffing. Any delay would only have increased the impatience due to the government's dependence on health-related authorities to fight a rapidly receding virus.

Officials will be able to increase staff at the border by allowing for a seven-week delay. Nearly all migrants trying to cross into the U.S. will be turned away by a U.S. health authority. Officials have acknowledged that this is no longer necessary.

U.S. officials claimed Friday that they had been working for months to prepare for the possible expiration of the asylum ban on health. They also said plans were in place to vacinate migrants and improve safety and health conditions at the border. They said that they had until May 23 to implement those plans. According to the CDC, the virus does not pose a threat to asylum seekers seeking refuge in the U.S.

Republicans hint at legal action. Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that the actions would "endanger Texans."

He stated that Texas must take unprecedented actions to ensure safety in its communities by using all of its constitutional powers to defend its territory.

According to the federal order, the Department of Homeland Security will intensify efforts to provide vaccines for migrants crossing the border in the next two-months. At 11 locations along the border, the government currently administers up to 2000 vaccines per day.

This decision will likely draw more migrants to the U.S. - Mexico border. Biden has dealt with several migrant waves, drawing harsh criticism for his immigration policies. More than a dozen migrants were seen running out of the Good Samaritan shelter, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, to ask about it, even before it was officially announced.

Homeland Security officials stated this week that 7,100 migrants are arriving daily. This is in comparison to the average of 5,900 per day in February. They also expect the pace to surpass or match highs set by last year, 2019, and other peak periods. Border officials stated that they expect as many as 18,000 migrants per day, and this could pose a problem for Democrats from border regions in tight reelection races. They also warned that the Biden administration may not be prepared to deal with the situation.

To respond to sharp increases in violence, the Southwest Border Coordinating Center was created. MaryAnn Tierney, a regional director for Federal Emergency Management Agency, is interim leader, and a Border Patrol official is deputy.

Officials are also looking at additional air and ground transportation options, and building tents to accommodate the anticipated influx. To free up Border Patrol agents who spend around 40% of their time caring about people in custody, and other administrative tasks unrelated to border security instead of patrolling and uncovering smuggling activities, the Border Patrol has already recruited more civilians.

Civilians are responsible for checking the safety of microwave burritos, checking hold cells, and collecting information to prepare immigration court papers.

Administration officials acknowledge that the fixes are temporary.

"The Biden–Harris administration is determined to pursue every avenue within its authority to secure our border, enforce our laws and remain true to our values," stated Alejandro Mayorkas , Homeland Security Secretary. Comprehensive legislation is the only way to bring about long-term reforms in a system that is fundamentally flawed.

As coronavirus cases rose, the Trump administration put in place these limits in March 2020. Officials claimed that it was done to prevent COVID-19 from entering the United States. However, there has always been criticism that the restrictions were used to close the border to migrants that Donald Trump did not want. This was probably the most comprehensive of Trump's measures to limit crossings and clamp down on migrants.

Officials from the CDC lifted part of the order last week, lifting the restrictions on children traveling alone to the border. U.S. border officials began testing children who travel alone to the border in August. Positives dropped to 6% in March, from nearly 20% in February.

Many Democrats and immigrant advocacy groups applauded this decision. However, many Democrats expressed dissatisfaction at the delay in the effective date.

Efren C. Olivares is the deputy legal director at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Program. He stated that "the continued use of this policy -- even over the next two months -- was indefensible, and unjustified." We urge the administration not to wait and to immediately cease using Title 42. They must also fulfill their promise to rebuild our asylum system in a just, humane, and dignified manner.

Republicans and moderate Democrats, who were already opposed to its end, expressed their frustration.

"Today's announcement of the CDC, the Biden Administration are frightening decisions," stated Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va). "Title 42 was an essential tool in combating the spread of COVID-19" and controlling the influx at our southern border.


 

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