Migrants May Double When COVID-Era Title 42 Ends


Migrants may sharply increase when a policy allowing immigration officials to expel asylum-seekers based on public-health concerns ends on Dec. 21, 2022.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled on Nov. 15 that the policy of expelling immigrants seeking asylum for public-health concerns was “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge gave the Biden administration five weeks to end Title 42.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that between 9,000 and 14,000 immigrants – double the current rate – will seek to cross the southern border when Title 42 terminates.

Anyone seeking asylum status will benefit from working with an attorney. Contact the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. for skilled guidance through the complex asylum process.

History Behind Title 42

Title 42 had been used by the Trump and Biden administrations to manage unprecedented numbers of immigrants at the U.S. -Mexico border. The policy is based on a 1944 law allowing actions to stop the introduction of contagious diseases in the U.S. Congress passed a similar earlier law in 1893 in response to the cholera epidemic.

Title 42 was first implemented in March 2020 under the Public Health Service Act. The Trump administration policy allowed for the immediate expulsion of immigrants without screening them for asylum and impacted both the northern and southern borders regardless of their country of origin.

The Biden administration continued the policy with the exception of unaccompanied minors, which was ended by a district court ruling. The rule still applied to families and single adults. After determining COVID-19 no longer posed a serious danger to public health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Title 42 would be lifted on May 23, 2022. More than 20 states – including Florida – filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block ending the program. The judge granted their request and issued a preliminary junction on May 20.

The November 2022 decision by Sullivan stems from a January 2021 lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show more than 450 immigrants came to the southern border in 2020 and more than 1.7 million in 2021. More than 2.3 million immigrants came to the border in 2022. About 2 million of these immigrants were expelled under Title 42.

Determining Asylum Eligibility

An immigrant can file for asylum only after they are physically present in the U.S. This request must be made within one year of entering the country.

Migrants can seek the protection of asylum if they have suffered persecution or fear they will suffer persecution based on any of the following:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership is a Particular Social Group
  • Political Opinion

Asylum-seekers can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once their case has been pending for at least 180 days. Anyone granted asylum is immediately eligible to work in the U.S. The EAD will terminate within 60 days of asylum denial.

If an applicant is denied asylum, they are typically put into removal (deportation) proceedings. Evidence can be presented to the removal judge, who may grant asylum. If the immigration judge denies asylum, the immigrant can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. A final appeal can be made in federal court.

Some immigrants may be eligible to stay in the U.S. under temporary protected status (TPS) or another status. Our experienced legal team can help immigration clients understand all their rights and options.

Seek Asylum Status with Experienced Legal Counsel

More immigrants are expected to apply for asylum when Title 42 lifts at the end of 2022. Like all immigration laws, asylum is complex. Narrow parameters are used to determine eligibility. If you or a loved one wants permission to stay in the U.S. because of persecution in their home country, a strong case that fully explains the circumstances is important.

At the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., we have more than three decades of experience in immigration law. Schedule a consultation by calling (727) 939-6113 or reaching us online.

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