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Biden Pressured to Reverse Restriction of Non-Essential Travel Across US-Mexico Border

June 23, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Biden administration is being pressured to decide by the end of the month as to whether to reverse Title 42, known as the Public Health Service Act, used to restrict non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

In March 2020, the Trump administration enacted the public health law from 1944 to utilize the authority of Title 42 to expel those crossing the border and extend its applicability indefinitely, although subject to 30-day reviews.  

Since that time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has carried out more than 800,000 expulsions under the order.

Human Rights Watch research shows that the consequences of returning asylum seekers to danger can be catastrophic–resulting in sexual assault, torture and death.

Many of the expulsions involved the use of lateral flights, which put migrants on airplanes to places sometimes hundreds of miles away from where they entered. 

At the start of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union proceeded in filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration. The lawsuit claimed that the way Title 42 is being used is illegal, as the title authorizes quarantines but not expulsions from the country. The lawsuit also claimed that children and families have the right to a full and fair proceeding to determine their right to protection within the country.  

The ACLU has put a temporary pause on that lawsuit as they are working on possible negotiation with the Biden administration, which has not yet declared efforts to repeal the Title 42 order, which will remain in effect until July 31. 

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