The DHS has just released a plan for the lifting of Title 42 in preparation for a potential massive influx of migrants to the southwest border
Days after expressing apprehension for a May 23rd ending of Title 42 as declared by the CDC, the DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has released a 20-page plan detailing the groundwork taking place to deal with a possible wave of migrants arriving at the border. Since the CDC issued Title 42 in March 2020 as a public health policy to control the spread of Covid-19, an estimated 2 million migrants have been expelled from the border without the ability to seek asylum. Once the policy is lifted, the United States can expect a surge in border crossings of up to 18,000 people per day.
The U.S. Immigration Court system is currently dealing with a backlog of almost 1.6 million immigration cases as of the beginning of this year. Of the small number of people who did not face expulsion at the border and were enabled due process to seek asylum, a majority of those cases involved unaccompanied children and families with children. Historically, immigrant women and children are vulnerable to trafficking because of language barriers, immigration status, and not knowing of their protective rights within the United States. Immigrants make up 76% of the victims in labor trafficking cases in America.
Although the DHS has considered the strain that a huge increase in border crossings will cause, the harm that migrants will face in this wave is more devastating than we can comprehend. According to the DHS’s plan for preparedness, incoming noncitizens will have to face medical support concerns, overcrowding at Border Patrol stations, food and shelter concerns, and threats from transnational criminal organizations. This is in addition to the hidden abuses of forced labor and trafficking into situations common to immigrant populations in industries such as: domestic servitude, agriculture, sweatshop and factory work, hospitality work, and sex work. This will become especially concerning for states like New York, California, and Florida where there is large immigrant representation.
The DHS’s plan addresses many of the above concerns in promising to have enough personnel and transportation, creating better processing efficiency, and continuing to maintain immigration laws at the border. You can read the plan here. Since the CDC announced on April 1st that Title 42 is no longer necessary, the ending of Title 42 on May 23rd is being legally challenged by 22 states.