Recently, the Supreme Court passed a temporary order to keep the Title 42 pandemic- era limits in place for asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. While this order could be lifted at any time, it will remain for the foreseeable future.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 was a child of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was put into place to limit the number of people who could enter the country on asylum. The goal was use this as a tool to curb the rapid spread of this unprecedented virus. An article written for aljazeera.com further explains by saying, “People have been denied rights to seek asylum under US and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 on grounds of preventing COVID-19 under Title 42, a public health rule that was scheduled to expire on Wednesday until US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary hold.”
Who Does this Affect?
There’s no doubt this restriction affects groups from South America more than groups from other countries. The above mentioned articles goes on to say, “Title 42 has been applied disproportionately to those from countries that Mexico has agreed to take back: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and more recently Venezuela, in addition to Mexico. People from those countries are expected to drive an anticipated increase in asylum claims once the rule is lifted.”
A State of Confusion
If you took a trip to the U.S. / Mexico border, you’d see groups of thousands of people who have congregated there in anticipation of Title 42 being lifted. To add to the confusion, asylum seekers are unsure of whether or not they are supposed to show up at the border asking for asylum, apply online or head to a U.S. embassy to complete their request. It’s all muddled and causing continued issues for those seeking sanctuary in the United States.
To make matters more difficult, The Biden Administration has been silent and/or vague about how people can seek asylum. The lack of information has caused many people feelings of stress, uncertainty and ultimately hopelessness.
In the Meantime
While government officials argue about what to do about the increasing number of individuals gathering at the border, things remain at a standstill. The Department of Homeland Security (border control) is committed to reinforcing and protecting the border according to their job descriptions.
Additionally, southern state officials are pleading for some kind of restrictions on asylum seekers. They claim that a massive influx of people will put a tremendous strain on public services including healthcare, police officers and social services such as shelters. Some cities are doing their best to make room but with the number of people trying to enter through the southern border, many are worried it will be too much to handle.
While the future of asylum seekers is extremely uncertain, it will be interesting to see how the Biden Administration chooses to address this sticky situation.