What is Title 42?

TITLE 42 is a controversial policy in the United States that was used during the Trump administration to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

It was also referred to as Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy because it forced people seeking asylum to wait in their home countries.

Title 42 limits immigration in the United States

Title 42 limits immigration in the United StatesCredit: AFP

What is Title 42?

Title 42 is a public emergency health order that was passed during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944.

Essentially, the law states that if the U.S. surgeon general determines that there is a communicable disease in another country, the president can authorize health officials to prohibit “the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger” until it is deemed safe.

According to the Texas Tribune, the Trump administration was the first to invoke Title 42 since it was created in 1944 as a way to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

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As a result, those who tried to cross the border were sent back to their home countries within hours or days without going through an immigration process, VOA News reports.

Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told VOA News that Title 42 meant that there was “no legal consequence” to migrants who tried to cross.

Without Title 42, she said that there “would be a consequence that would make it harder for them to come back legally under immigration law.”

She continued: “So, by using Title 42, there was no consequence, and therefore what we saw was many immigrants, particularly Mexicans, who had been expelled back to Mexico, simply trying again.”

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The CDC ended the policy on May 23, 2022, after they determined it was “no longer necessary” due to the “increased availability of tools to fight Covid-19,” like vaccines and therapeutics.

What did the Supreme Court say about Title 42?

Title 42 has also been referred to as Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy because it was designed to restrict immigration at the southern border.

On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that Biden’s administration could shut down the program.

In the 5-4 ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts said a judge could “force the executive to the bargaining table with Mexico, over a policy that both countries wish to terminate, and to supervise its continuing negotiations with Mexico to ensure that they are conducted ‘in good faith,'” according to NBC News.

His decision was backed by Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.

Donald Trump passed Title 42 during the Covid-19 pandemic

Donald Trump passed Title 42 during the Covid-19 pandemicCredit: Getty

However, Justice Samuel Alito was among those who were not in favor of lifting the policy, later criticizing the border policy in his dissent.

“Due to the huge numbers of aliens who attempt to enter illegally from Mexico, [Department of Homeland Security] does not have the capacity to detain all inadmissible aliens encountered at the border, and no one suggests that DHS must do the impossible,” he wrote.

“But rather than avail itself of Congress’s clear statutory alternative to return inadmissible aliens to Mexico while they await proceedings in this country, DHS has concluded that it may forgo that option altogether and instead simply release into this country untold numbers of aliens who are very likely to be removed if they show up for their removal hearings. This practice violates the clear terms of the law, but the Court looks the other way.”

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Alito was joined by Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett added that she believed more information was needed before a decision was made.