The Biden administration has extended the Title 42 policy that allows border agents to expel migrants and asylum-seekers without a court hearing over concerns of coronavirus spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended Title 42 on Monday, the same day that the American Civil Liberties Union renewed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the policy.
The CDC order “temporarily suspends the introduction of certain noncitizens based on the Director’s determination that introduction of such noncitizens” through the Mexico or Canada border “creates a serious danger of the introduction of COVID-19 into the United States,” the agency said in a press release. Unaccompanied migrant children are exempt from the order.
The order “shall remain in effect until the CDC Director determines that the danger of further introduction of COVID-19 into the United States from covered noncitizens has ceased to be a serious danger to the public health.”
The CDC noted that an “ongoing migrant surge” at the U.S.-Mexico border had overwhelmed Customs and Border Protection facilities, in the text of the order filed in the ACLU case on Monday. Border Patrol facilities on the southwest border are holding migrants at 389 percent of “COVID-19 adjusted capacity,” according to additional court filings by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Amid the ongoing migrant surge, both the COVID-19-reduced capacity and higher non-COVID holding capacity limits have been exceeded in CBP facilities,” the order states. “Complete termination of any order under” Title 42 would result “in severe overcrowding and a high risk of COVID-19 transmission among those held in the facilities and the CBP workforce, ultimately burdening the local healthcare system.”
The new court filings revealed that CBP estimates its agents encountered 210,000 migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in July, the highest monthly total since the year 2000.