Biden Ends Title 42 and Border Chaos is Imminent
FAIR Take | April 2022
The Biden administration announced the end of Title 42 at the border, effective May 23. Title 42 is a public health order in place since March 2020 that allowed immigration agents to turn away more than half of all border-crossers, citing the danger of the potential spread of COVID-19 within the United States. Ending Title 42 will have disastrous consequences at the border, with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials preparing for more than 500,000 illegal border crossers within six weeks of terminating the policy.
Upon taking office, the Biden administration eviscerated immigration enforcement in the United States. Through the use of executive actions and agency memos, the administration further strained the ability of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to make arrests and deport illegal aliens from the interior of the United States. Biden further ended the asylum agreements with the Northern Triangle countries and attempted to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) before a court reinstated the program.
Under President Biden, illegal border crossings have soared to all-time highs. In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) experienced 1.7 million encounters with aliens at the southern border, the highest number ever recorded in a single year. The current Fiscal Year is already sharply outpacing 2021’s record-breaking numbers. The Border Patrol anticipates that in the next couple days, we will hit one million encounters with migrants attempting to illegally cross our southern border in FY2022.
Just last month, CBP encountered 165,000 illegal aliens – the highest total for February in DHS history. When looking at the last 12 months in a row, there have been over 150,000 encounters at the Southern border – eight of which broke records.
The only policy that offset mass catch-and-release while providing slight discouragement to illegal migration has been Title 42. Most months, border agents used Title 42 to turn away about half of all aliens, while allowing the remaining half to enter the United States to pursue frivolous asylum claims. Almost none of those applicants will ever earn asylum – but that is not why they come. They come because our asylum process and backlogs allow them to live with quasi-protected status and work permits in the United States for about two to three years. Even if they lose their asylum hearing, under Biden’s watch ICE is largely unable to detain and deport them. Getting here is the goal, and asylum is the tool they use.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already set up a war room enlisting the aid of a panoply of federal agencies to help them manage an unprecedented surge of migrants crashing our borders once Title 42 ends. Absurdly, the administration is preparing for a disaster that is entirely preventable. According to Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), DHS’s Office of Intelligence has warned the administration that a million migrants could cross the border within the first six weeks after the end of Title 42.
There is no other way to put it: without Title 42 in place, there will be lawlessness and chaos at the Southern border. Even Democratic Senators such as Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Mark Warner (Va.) expressed alarm at the potential for such a catastrophe to unfold at our border.
Our system under President Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cannot handle this kind of strain. They appear unwilling to put in place any additional measures to stop the flow of people from coming to the United States, setting their own party up for disaster in the November midterm elections.
With Title 42 ending, the cost to our border communities –and the nation as a whole –will be immeasurable.