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Title 42 expiration prompts discourse on immigration

Photo used with permission from Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons
The new asylum rule enforced by the Biden Administration applies to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, excluding unaccompanied migrant children. Thousands of migrants anticipated the end of Title 42 along the 2,000 mile border with Mexico.

The Title 42 Expulsion program concerning immigration into the U.S. expired May 11, coinciding with President Joe Biden’s announcement of the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to NPR. The Biden administration had repeatedly tried to end the policy, but legal challenges were presented by 19 Republican states’ attorney generals, according to The Guardian.

Enforced by the Trump administration in March 2020, Title 42 allowed authorities to deport migrants to their place of origin to stop the introduction of COVID-19 into the U.S. Title 42 blocked the migrants from seeking asylum at official ports of entry, which caused many people to be deported, according to the BBC.

Rowan Hamilton (’26) said the end of Title 42 was long overdue. 

“I think it could have come down sooner because at least in the U.K., COVID stopped being really impactful a while ago,” Hamilton said.

Made withVisme

Although the public health order supports the nation’s desire to prevent COVID-19, Title 42 is not exclusive to the pandemic. The program was part of a wider-reaching law that gives federal authority to take emergency action under the threat of communicable diseases, according to PBS

Ryan Cushman (’24) said immigration laws and Title 42 are tricky subjects given the complex system.

“I think that we should take in as many immigrants as we can, but it’s also like, the system is pretty messed up right now,” Cushman said. “Without Title 42, the situation gets pretty out of hand. So I think that there does have to be some way for us to be able to regulate it and try and control the immigration.”

Social Studies Teacher Travis Schill said he was aware of the debate on the true intentions behind Donald Trump’s implementation of the law, as the former president expressed a very clear stance on immigration.

“Title 42’s implementation is muddied a little bit because it fits so neatly into Donald Trump’s immigration reduction priorities and immigration was a central issue of his campaign,” Schill said. 

Moreover, Schill said the 2020 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton could have also implemented Title 42, although the outcome may have looked different. 

“She would have probably been less enthusiastic about it compared to the Trump administration, but in reality, it’s quite likely it would have been in a vote at least for 2020 during the scariest earliest days of the pandemic,” Schill said.

Following the end of Title 42, Biden is replacing the law with a more limiting and confining policy. The new rule blocks migrants from asylum if they don’t request refugee status in another country before entering the U.S., according to The Guardian.

There are so many reasons why immigrants are coming to the U.S., it’s really important that they have access.

— Rowan Hamilton ('26)

Hamilton said these new regulations will be damaging to the people whose lives depend on entering the country.

“There are so many reasons why immigrants are coming to the U.S., it’s really important that they have access,” Hamilton said. “But Biden’s new law will make it a lot harder and put so many restrictions in place for people getting into the U.S.”

Meanwhile, Cushman said the decades-old system in place previous to COVID-19 was also controversial and didn’t please both sides of the debate on immigration laws.

“I think everybody should have the chance to get their case heard, but also the normal system wasn’t working very well,” Cushman said.

U.S. officials have recorded more than 10,000 new immigrants daily, according to the BBC, predominantly gathering on the banks of the Rio Grande. Politicians worry about the space necessary for the number of migrants and the handling of immigration, according to CNN.

Hamilton said it is vital for the U.S. to support immigrants given the country’s expansive resources.

“It’s really important that we have the resources and ability to take them in because it’s important as a country,” Hamilton said. “Especially as a pretty well-renowned one, we should be able to take in people and make them feel at home, not turning them away.”

Ultimately, Schill said he recognizes the difficult decisions that need to be made on both sides of the debate.

“There aren’t really good options on this topic,” Schill said. “Because frankly, we’re dealing with very vulnerable, very at-risk people who need help. Very hard decisions have to be made, so what is the optimal decision amongst a bunch of not-great choices?”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Hsu, Media Team
Sophia Hsu ('26) is a member of the Media Team for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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