What’s next for migrants at the border?

Immigration

(NewsNation) — Many migrants are facing a major setback after a federal judge blocked U.S. authorities from lifting the sweeping policy, known as Title 42, which since March 2020 has empowered Border Patrol agents to quickly turn back over a million migrants to Mexico and other countries

The order was supposed to lift Monday, but the judge blocked the mandate from being lifted last week.

The continuation of Title 42 is the latest flip-flop in policy that has dismayed migrants, immigration lawyer Renata Castro said on “Morning in America.”

“Border Patrol agents continue business as usual because the Biden administration is able to determine irrespective of whether or not the federal judge has upheld Title 42, who gets to enter the United States to pursue their asylum claim through a process called credible fear interview. Therefore, we anticipate that the impact will be more emotional than legal,” Castro said. “However, it is noteworthy to see that federal courts are willing to interfere with the execution of immigration law. And I believe that this will go all the way to the Supreme Court as it impacts more politics than it does immigration law.”

Another Trump-era program known as Remain in Mexico, which forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases wind through U.S. courts, was terminated by Biden early in his presidency only to be reinstated after a court ruling in August 2021. 

Customs and Border Protection officials stopped migrants 234,088 times on the Mexican border in April, one of the highest in decades and a 5.8% increase from 221,303 in March, according to figures released this month.

“We have to see that the volume of individuals entering the border is a direct result of not only the economic chaos caused by COVID in Central and South America and other countries as well, but also the increased use of technology. The more border encounters the more it means that CBP is doing its job,” Castro said. “What the U.S. really needs to do is revamp this archaic immigration law that requires individuals to risk their lives in order to pursue or to avail themselves of asylum law protections. It is an unfortunate term to say that it is business as usual. But as an immigration attorney, I can’t think of a better way to describe what’s going on right now.”

Many migrants are repeat crossers because there are no legal consequences of being expelled under Title 42 authority. In April, about 28% were encountered at least once in the previous year. According to Border Patrol, 60% of the crossers came from Mexico, 15% came from Guatemala and 14% came from Honduras.

U.S. authorities applied Title 42 in about four out of every 10 encounters. The rest were subject to immigration laws, which include a right to seek asylum.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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