On March 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) used its authority under the Public Health Service Act (Title 42 of the U.S. Code) to order U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to expel illegal crossers without the processing ordinarily required by the immigration law provisions in Title 8 of the U.S. Code. That processing is done at crowded CBP processing centers, which subjects the migrants to an increased likelihood that they will contract COVID-19 if they don’t already have it — or spread it to others if they do. Processing takes an average of 50 hours for single adults and 62 hours for families.

The Title 42 order required CBP to process illegal land border crossers very quickly, which typically was about 15 minutes in an outdoor setting. If the crossers were subject to the Title 42 order, they were taken directly to the nearest port of entry and expelled.

On April 1, 2022, CDC terminated the Title 42 order.

The termination, however, will not be effective until May 23, to provide DHS with time to implement additional COVID-19 mitigation protocols.

According to CDC’s latest review of the Title 42 order, the Omicron variant produced a very high number of reported infections and hospitalizations in January, but the number of cases decreased rapidly, falling by more than 95 percent as of March 30. Deaths and hospitalizations also reversed course and began a swift descent. And the global availability of COVID-19 vaccines has increased dramatically. As of March 30, 64.9 percent of the world’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 57 percent were fully vaccinated.

But the immigration consequences of terminating the Title 42 order are important too.

DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas released a contemporaneous statement saying that DHS

has put in place a comprehensive, whole-of-government plan to manage any potential increase in illegal border crossings.

But will it be enough?

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on Twitter that, “Dropping Title 42 without other changes in border policies will produce a tsunami of migrants & drugs.”

And a recent statement from Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz support’s Cornyn’s fears. Ortiz said that the border patrol has made approximately 7,000 arrests each day in March. This puts the U.S. on pace to record more than 200,000 arrests for March and more than a million for the first six months in fiscal 2022.

DHS released a fact sheet on its plan describing the following four-point strategy:

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/white-ho...t-of-migrants/

Published originally on the Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com