What the End of Title 42 Means for Immigrants

Title 42 resulted in more than 2.8 million expulsions at the U.S.-Mexico border from 2020 to 2023. With the end of Title 42, several parts of immigration law have changed. Actually, immigration enforcement has mostly returned to what it was before the government invoked Title 42.

Immigration law applies to asylum seekers as well as more standard cases. Learn more about what the end of Title 42 means for you and your family.

What Is Title 42?

Title 42 is a section of U.S. law dealing with public health and social welfare. It lets the federal government take emergency action to prevent communicable diseases from entering the country.

Title 42 has been in effect since 1944. Presidents have rarely used it, though.

Under President Trump, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) invoked Title 42 in 2020. The administration said that the use of Title 42 was necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Title 42 allowed immigration officials to expel immigrants more quickly. The processing time was as short as 30 minutes. Immigration officials didn’t need to consider migrants for asylum, which would normally be required.

Migrants who were found entering the country without a legal basis faced very few consequences under Title 42. They could keep trying to cross the border.

Reaching the End of Title 42

Human rights activists and others criticized the use of Title 42. The end of Title 42 took longer than many expected.

President Biden promised during his campaign to end the use of Title 42. After taking office, however, he defended the policy. Finally, in April 2022, the Biden Administration announced plans to end Title 42 enforcement.

Lawsuits from several states and action in Congress delayed the end of Title 42. Migrant expulsions under Title 42 finally ended on May 11, 2023. That date was the end of the COVID-19 national emergency.

Immigration Enforcement After Title 42

Since the end of Title 42, immigration enforcement has gone back to Title 8. In fact, the end of Title 42 is a return to normal immigration policy. Title 8 is part of U.S. law dealing with border enforcement.

Already in April 2022, border patrol agents processed around 65% of unauthorized arrivals under Title 8.

Migrants can seek asylum under Title 8. They must demonstrate a credible fear of persecution or other threat in their home country.

Consequences for Using Unlawful Pathways

Title 8 has stricter consequences for those crossing the border outside of the regular immigration process. People who cross the border without the required paperwork may face detention and expedited removal in as little as a few days. After an expedited removal, the person can’t enter the U.S. for at least five years.

People who are caught trying to enter the U.S. without the proper immigration paperwork face increasingly long bans on re-entry.

Additional Lawful Pathways

The Biden Administration has expanded the legal pathways available to migrants since the end of Title 42. The government has set a goal of thousands more refugees per month from the Western Hemisphere.

A new mobile application lets migrants in central and northern Mexico schedule an appointment with immigration officials at a port of entry. This gives migrants the opportunity to ask for asylum.

A new family reunification parole process will be available to people from Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. If someone already has approval for a family-based petition, they can be vetted and allowed into the U.S.

The expanded parole process for people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will continue.

New Changes to the Asylum Process

The Biden Administration changed the asylum process after the end of Title 42. The Circumvention of Lawful Pathways (CLP) rule tightens the eligibility requirements to apply for asylum.

A district court judge temporarily blocked the CLP rule. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay of that order. This means that USCIS continues to apply the new asylum rule.

Circumvention of Lawful Pathways Rule

The CLP rule makes most people who enter the U.S. across the southwest border after traveling through another country without following the legal immigration process ineligible for asylum. The only exceptions are:

  • People who had asked for asylum in another country and were denied
  • People who schedule an appointment at a border point of entry using the new CBP One smartphone app

The rule doesn’t apply to unaccompanied children. USCIS may make exceptions to the rule, including:

  • A sudden medical emergency
  • A pressing and extreme threat to the person’s life or safety
  • The person is a victim of severe human trafficking

People who can’t prove they qualify for an exception to the CLP rule will face removal. The CLP rule applies in all types of asylum applications: affirmative, asylum merits interview, and defensive.

Affirmative Asylum Process

When migrants reach the U.S., they can apply for asylum by submitting Form I-589 to USCIS. If USCIS doesn’t approve the case and the applicant doesn’t have legal status, the case will be referred to an immigration judge. The judge conducts a new hearing and makes a decision.

Asylum Merits Interview

During expedited removal proceedings, immigration officials will refer a migrant for a credible fear screening if the migrant expresses:

  • An intent to apply for asylum
  • Fear of persecution or torture
  • Fear of returning to their home country

If the asylum officer finds that the fear of persecution or torture is credible, they may conduct an Asylum Merits Interview.

Defensive Asylum Process

A defensive asylum application happens when a migrant requests asylum to avoid removal from the U.S. This can happen after USCIS rejects an affirmative asylum application or after the migrant is apprehended trying to enter the U.S. without immigration documents.

Navigating the Immigration Process Today

The end of Title 42 means returning to immigration enforcement under Title 8. If your loved one got caught up by these changes, you may need immigration bonds. An immigration bond allows someone to leave detention while waiting for their court hearing.

Amistad Bail and Immigration Bonds can guide you through the process. We have immigration bonds for asylum seekers as well as for standard immigration cases. Our experienced bond agents can explain the process and make it easier for you.

Contact Amistad Bail and Immigration Bonds today to learn how we can help with your loved one’s bond process.