When Title 42 expires, the United States will revert to the immigration procedures outlined in Title 8. Here’s what that means.
For the first time in more than three years, the United States is changing its immigration policy for asylum seekers, or people seeking protection from persecution in their country.
Title 42, which allowed federal authorities to deport migrants without the ability to claim asylum, expires on May 11. It was implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
Once Title 42 ends, the United States will resume processing asylum claims at ports of entry.
Will the US have an “open border” when Title 42 ends?
No, the US will not have an “open border” when Title 42 ends. The government will revert to immigration procedures outlined in a body of federal law known as Title 8.
WHAT WE FOUND
Title 42 ends Thursday, May 11, and immigration procedures outlined in Title 8 of the U.S. Code will resume the next day. But that doesn’t mean that the US border is “open” to anyone who can enter the country without permission.
While the end of Title 42 doesn’t mean the border is “fully open,” as some have claimed, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects more migration. The agency announced on May 2 that additional personnel would be sent to the border to offer assistance for 90 days after Title 42 expired.
Since the 1940s, US immigration law has been governed by Title 8 of the US Code. But some provisions of Title 8 were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic under a different law called Title 42.
Title 42 is a section of the Public Health Service Act, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law in July 1944. This section allows federal health authorities to prohibit persons who pose a disease-related hazard from entering the United States .
In March 2020, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under former President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Title 42 will expire the same day the Biden administration ends twin national emergencies to address COVID-19.
More from VERIFY: Title 42 and Immigration: Fact Sheet
Both DHS and the State Department explain that after Box 42 ends, authorities will return to using immigration processes under Title 8.
Here’s a breakdown of what changes.
Under Title 42, many asylum seekers have been deported back to Mexico or their country of origin without their case being heard, explains the National Immigration Forum. Now, with its expiration, the federal government will resume regular processing of legal asylum claims at ports of entry starting Friday, May 12.
Asylum status is a form of protection available to people who meet the refugee definition and are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a point of entry. A person seeking asylum protection must apply for it within one year of arriving in the United States
The federal government will also reintroduce tougher penalties for illegal border crossings under Title 8. Those penalties can include deportation, a five-year re-entry ban and criminal prosecution, DHS and the State Department say.
These penalties were not enforced under Title 42, according to the National Immigration Forum.
“Because they are not based on existing immigration or border laws, Title 42 expulsions carry zero repeat-entry penalties and make no distinction between those with worthy protection claims and those attempting to enter the United States without being uncovered,” says the Forum.
DHS also says it will work to expeditiously remove people who arrive at the border to seek asylum, but who cannot demonstrate a credible fear of persecution or harm in their home country.
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