Title 42 Ends, Ushering in a New Chapter for Asylum Seekers in the US

Title 42 Ends, Ushering in a New Chapter for Asylum Seekers in the US
Migrants line up on the U.S.-Mexico border prior to boarding a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol bus near El Paso on Thursday. Credit:REUTERS/Julio Cesar Chavez

Humanitarian Crisis Unfolds at U.S.-Mexico Border Amid Asylum Policy Changes.

The Title 42 rule, a pandemic-era policy that prevented 2.3 million people from seeking asylum in the US, has been lifted. This controversial rule, implemented during the Trump administration, significantly affected migration dynamics, essentially bringing it to a standstill.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Trump administration introduced Title 42 as an emergency health order to control the spread of the virus. This order targeted individuals attempting to enter the US from its southern border, allowing authorities to reject most migrants and refugees without providing an opportunity for asylum application. Since its implementation, the US has recorded 2.7 million Title 42 expulsions, including repeated turn-aways of the same individuals, according to government data.

With the expiration of this rule on May 11, 2023, the path to asylum, although still fraught with challenges, opens up anew for many. On the following day, a group of 200 migrants crossed into the US at the Tijuana-San Diego border, ready to embark on the potentially years-long process of securing asylum status.

However, a new rule, Title 8, introduces fresh hurdles. The Department of Homeland Security states that under Title 8, those who did not seek asylum in the countries they transited through on their way to the US will be disqualified from doing so upon arrival. Mexico has also confirmed its commitment to accept returns under Title 8 at the US border. Individuals removed under this rule face a five-year ban on admission and potential criminal charges if they attempt re-entry within this period.

Despite these uncertainties and risks, many are willing to take the gamble, motivated by the potential for a new life in the US. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long and complex narrative of migration and asylum in America.