President Joe Biden’s administration is ending a controversial border health restriction that had been held over from the previous Trump administration.
Here are some answers to your questions about Title 42.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 is a U.S. Code that relates to public health and welfare. Under section 265 of the code, the surgeon general, or in this case the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can prohibit the entry or “introduction” of non-citizens in the interest of public health if there is a “quarantinable communicable disease” in a foreign country and “serious danger” that it can be introduced into the United States.
The clause was enacted as part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944, but was rarely used before the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020. It remained in effect even as international flights resumed and the southern border opened for foreign visitors.
How was it used during the COVID-19 pandemic?
On March 20, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services issued emergency regulations that allowed the Centers for Disease Control to implement Title 42 of the U.S. Code. Agents and officers have been immediately expelling people crossing the border illegally between ports of entry ever since, using that order.
The ports of entry have turned away asylum-seeking migrants for the past two years, with very few exceptions granted through humanitarian parole.
Why were some migrants not expelled under Title 42?
Sometimes agents could not expel migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin under Title 42. Nationals from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico are sent back across the land border, while all other nationalities are flown back to their home country or to a country that has agreed to receive them.
Because of operational reasons, migrants who could serve as material witnesses in a case or who have been previously convicted of a crime are processed under CBP’s Title 8 statutory immigration authority.
Title 42 has been used over 1.7 million times, about 27% of those times the individual had been expelled at least twice. “Encounters” do not equal individuals apprehended.
The CDC announced it was lifting the restriction. What did it say?
The CDC determined that the public health order is no longer necessary after considering the wide range of mitigation measures and the low community levels of COVID-19 nationwide. Their public health assessment found that 97% of the U.S. population lives in counties with low levels of COVID-19.
CDC officials announced Title 42 will be terminated to “enable the Department of Homeland Security to implement appropriate COVID-19 protocols.”
When will the restriction be lifted?
Title 42 will end on May 23, 2022.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: What is Title 42 and how is it used at the border under COVID-19