The Biden administration will end the Title 42 public health order that allows border agents to immediately expel illegal border crossers, according to multiple reports.
The order was initially handed down under the Trump administration in the early days of the Covid pandemic, and renewed by the Biden administration in August 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will order an end to the Title 42 policy this week, people familiar with the plans told the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. A draft of the new order reviewed by the Journal states that “there is no longer a serious danger” that migrants could spread Covid in border detention facilities.
The implementation of the new order will be delayed until late May, to give the administration time to prepare for a potential rise in migrants seeking to cross the southern border illegally.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said the administration expects to see a new influx of migrants once Title 42 is lifted.
“We are planning for multiple contingencies, and we have every expectation that when the CDC ultimately decides it’s appropriate to lift Title 42, there will be an influx of people to the border,” Bedingfield told reporters at a White House press conference on Wednesday.
Officials within the Department of Homeland Security have reportedly warned that rescinding the order could result in an influx of illegal border crossings.
Over 2 million migrants were detained at the southern border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in 2021, the first year of President Biden’s term in office. That was more than double the 921,812 migrants detained in a 2019 surge in illegal crossings.
Meanwhile, border agents encountered 164,973 migrants in February, up over 60 percent from February 2021.