The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule this week that a public health authority order allowing for the expulsion of migrants encountered at the US-Mexico border should remain in effect despite widespread opposition from Biden administration allies.
The order, known as Title 42, was invoked by the Trump administration at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and has continued to be used – and defended – by the Biden administration. There have been more than 1 million expulsions of migrants under the authority since its implementation, according to US Customs and Border Protection data.
“The current reassessment examined the present impact of the pandemic throughout the United States and at the U.S. borders, taking special note of the surge in cases and hospitalizations since December due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a statement.
“CDC continues to emphasize the need for testing, vaccination, and other mitigation measures at border facilities beyond the use of the Order,” the statement continued.
Immigration advocates have urged the White House to rescind the order to no avail, arguing that it has no health basis and puts migrants in harm’s way.
“The Title 42 order has no basis in public health and the CDC is allowing itself to be used to justify mass expulsions of asylum seekers in violation of US and international refugee law to harm’s way,” Robyn Barnard, senior advocacy counsel for Human Rights First, told CNN. “This policy of expelling asylum seekers is a stain on US history and it is now part of the President and Vice President’s legacy.”
Biden administration officials are weighing offering vaccines to migrants at the US-Mexico border, but previous attempts have been shot down by the White House. The CDC, meanwhile, will continue to assess the order every 60 days.