Over the past year, the most salient political reality of U.S. border and migration policy is Title 42. This policy, enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020, invokes a 1944 public health statute to close the border to “nonessential” travel indefinitely. Since then, the border has effectively been sealed off to migrants and asylum-seekers, using the pandemic as a pretext to justify this extreme measure. Many senior health officials dispute that there is any credible public health basis for this order. Several months into President Biden’s term, the policy remains, and the violations of people’s well-being and their access to fair legal processes continue. Migrants from many countries are returned shortly after crossing the border to Mexican border towns, where they are often victims of violence at the hands of organized crime. And with no concrete plans to unwind Title 42, migrants are living in dangerous limbo that makes planning for the future nearly impossible.
April 20, 2021