Immigration has bedeviled Mr. Biden since he entered office promising to undo the harsh border policies of his predecessor. But Title 42’s impending end, along with a large wave of border crossings that has occurred despite the public health order, turned the issue into an urgent matter of national debate. Polls have shown that more than half of Americans oppose lifting it.
“The court’s decision to block the C.D.C. from ending Title 42 will permit the Biden administration to shore up its post-Title 42 plan and seek additional resources from Congress if necessary,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, senior policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, a pro-immigration group.
“But as the last two years of Title 42 have shown us,” he said, “a failed policy isn’t going to get any better with time, and the longer Title 42 is kept in place the harder it will be for any administration to manage the border.”
In the first six months of the fiscal year that started in October, border officials have encountered more than one million migrants at the southern border, about half of whom were removed under the policy.
The public health order has always been applied unevenly, with the government allowing some migrants in under humanitarian exemptions and a variety of other factors that have limited its options.
Along many stretches of the border, for example, Mexican states have refused to accept the return of migrants with young children; along others, states have refused to take back people from far-flung countries, such as Brazil, India and Senegal, compelling the United States to release them inside the country with court hearings for deportation.
While challenging in the short term, lifting Title 42 could result in a decrease in unauthorized crossings in the long term, if unauthorized crossers are once again prosecuted for illegal entry instead of being simply expelled, with the possibility of detention and a permanent bar of admission to the country.