The Aftermath Of Title 42: A New Era Of Cross-Border Migration

The expiration of the controversial policy is leading to significant disruption along the U.S.-Mexico border and sending shockwaves across the nation.

The Aftermath Of Title 42: A New Era Of Cross-Border Migration
Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

Title 42, a public health policy enacted by the U.S. government during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a contentious topic in the realms of cross-border migration and the U.S. economy. The policy allowed for the expulsion of asylum seekers and unauthorized migrants due to public health concerns, but on May 11, 2023, more than three years after its inception, the policy expired.

What swiftly followed was an influx of cross-border migration, which resulted in the apprehension of tens of thousands of undocumented migrants along the southern border within just one week. Asylum seekers and unauthorized migrants, who were previously expelled under the policy, will have the opportunity to seek protection and pursue their claims within the United States, but that’s not to say that border crossings post-Title 42 come without repercussions.

Those seeking asylum on American soil must now prove that they were first denied asylum in a country they passed through en route to the United States, said Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security secretary, in a press release on the eve of the policy expiration. In addition, U.S. code Title 8’s more stringent legislation means that incoming migrants could face criminal prosecution, prolonged detention, and a five-year ban from re-entering.

“Let me be clear,” Mayorkas said, “The lifting of the Title 42 public health order does not mean our border is open. In fact, it is the contrary. Our use of our immigration enforcement authorities under Title 8 of the United States Code means tougher consequences for people who cross the border illegally. Unlike under Title 42, an individual who is removed under Title 8 is subject to at least a five-year bar on re-entry into the United States and can face criminal prosecution if they attempt to cross again.”

The arrival of more migrants, particularly those seeking employment opportunities, may impact labor markets. Industries that heavily rely on immigrant labor, such as agriculture, construction, and hospitality, may experience changes in their workforce dynamics.

Proponents argue that a larger labor force could contribute to economic growth, filling gaps in certain sectors and boosting productivity. However, critics such as Governor Greg Abbott (R., TX) express concerns about potential wage stagnation and increased competition for jobs. Balancing economic considerations with the need for comprehensive immigration reforms will be crucial to harness the potential benefits while addressing legitimate concerns.

Following the expiration of Title 42, Governor Abbott ramped up the state’s security efforts with the tactical deployment of hundreds of Texas National Guard soldiers to join thousands already deployed as part of “Operation Lone Star,” a multi-agency operation to prevent unlawful border crossings.

“With the ending of Title 42 on Thursday, President Biden is laying down the welcome mat to people across the entire world, but Texas is deploying our new Texas Tactical Border Force,” said Governor Abbott.

“The Texas National Guard is loading Blackhawk helicopters and C-130s and deploying specially trained soldiers for the Texas Tactical Border Force, who will be deployed to hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally.”

Contrarily, Mayorkas acknowledged the importance of granting proper asylum to those seeking it: “We are a nation of immigrants, and we are a nation of laws. Individuals who qualify for relief under our laws have a basis to remain in the United States. The contributions of immigrants to this country is quite clear.”

More than ever before, it’s crucial for the U.S. government to ensure an efficient and fair asylum system that balances national security concerns with humanitarian considerations. Nonetheless, the change in policy has already caused disruption along the U.S.-Mexico border, and rates of border crossings are expected to remain elevated in the coming weeks.

Title 42
Photo by Max Böhme on Unsplash

Those granted asylum can apply to become permanent citizens, but that process is often difficult and complex, involving multiple government agencies and sometimes taking years to accomplish. In the meantime, migrant hotspots like New York City are scrambling to set up emergency housing as up to 700 new migrants arrive each day.

With no clear solution in place, city officials have turned to public school gyms, hotels, parking lots, and tents in city parks for temporary housing, but it remains unclear what options are currently available for long-term housing.

The expiration of Title 42 marks a significant shift in U.S. immigration and public health policies. Striking the right balance between humanitarian considerations, national security, and economic growth will be crucial as the nation navigates this new landscape. In the meantime, it is imperative for policymakers to devise comprehensive solutions that address the complexities and challenges associated with these interconnected issues in order to uphold the nation’s asylum laws while preventing further disruption at the border and beyond.

Layne Deakins

Content Editor Associate

Layne is a Pennsylvania native who enjoys adventuring in nature, traveling, writing, eating, and spending precious time with her cat. Fluent in Italian, Layne jumps at every opportunity to explore the world around her, and she’s always planning for her next trip back to Italy.

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.