Title 42 COVID restrictions on the US-Mexico border have ended. Ask a Reuters immigration reporter anything!
Hi, I'm Ted Hesson, an immigration reporter for Reuters in Washington, D.C. My work focuses on the policy and politics of immigration, asylum, and border security.
For more than three years, I've been following the effects of COVID-19 border restrictions that have cut off many migrants from claiming asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The restrictions were originally issued under a March 2020 order known as Title 42. The order allows U.S. authorities to quickly expel migrants caught crossing the border illegally back to Mexico or other countries without the chance to request U.S. asylum.
U.S. health officials originally said the policy was needed to prevent the spread of COVID in immigration detention facilities, but critics said it was part of Republican former President Donald Trump's goal of reducing legal and illegal immigration.
The U.S. ended the COVID public health emergency at 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 11, which also ended the Title 42 border restrictions.
U.S. border authorities have warned that illegal border crossings could climb higher now that the COVID restrictions are gone. The number of migrants caught crossing illegally had already been at record levels since President Joe Biden, a Democrat, took office.
To deter illegal crossings, Biden issued a new regulation this week that will deny asylum to most migrants crossing the border illegally while also creating new legal pathways.
But it remains unclear whether the U.S. will have the resources to detain and deport people who fail to qualify for asylum and whether migrants will choose to use Biden's new legal pathways.
Biden’s strict new asylum regulation will likely face legal challenges, too. Similar measures implemented by Trump were blocked in court.