Restrictions on asylum claims that have prevented hundreds of thousands of migrants from entering the US in recent years will expire next week, following an appeals court ruling.
The Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Friday not to uphold the Trump-era policy that restricts the number of asylum seekers the US would allow under the COVID-19 pandemic, known collectively as Title 42.
The rules will expire on Wednesday unless a new appeal is filed.
Former President Donald Trump first implemented Title 42, which derives its name from Title 42 of a 1944 law covering public health, to combat the spread of the coronavirus when the pandemic was raging around the world.
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Since March 2020, there have been 2.5 million cases of migrants being denied the right to seek asylum under US and international law. The expiration of Title 42 will restore the pre-pandemic asylum seeking process.
Nearly 20 Republican-led states are fighting to keep the restrictions in place, saying the restrictions are helping reduce border crossings and eliminate asylum exploitation.
The Biden administration has already said it expects the already high daily influx of immigrants to grow if asylum restrictions are lifted and these red states argue that their immigrant housing facilities in cities, particularly El Paso , Texas are overwhelmed.
Tijuana, the largest Mexican border city, has about 5,000 people in more than 30 shelters, Enrique Lucero, the city’s director of immigration affairs, said this week.
Many of these immigrants are seeking access to the US and would be able to freely enter the US to apply for asylum once the rules are lifted.
On the other side of the issue, immigrant advocates argue that the United States was abandoning its long history to offer refuge to people around the world. Typically, these asylum seekers are fleeing persecution in their home countries.
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Advocates have sued to end the use of Title 42 on humanitarian grounds and also argue that vaccines and the general decline in the global pandemic make Trump’s argument obsolete.
Last month, a judge sided with asylum and immigrant advocates, setting a December 21 deadline for the federal government to end the Trump-era policy.
The three-judge panel ruled late Friday that they would allow the restrictions to lapse, saying the states waited too long to file their appeal.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeffrey Landry expressed disappointment with the decision, saying the Republican coalition would appeal to the Supreme Court.
Title 42 applies to all nationalities, including Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Venezuelans, and Mexicans.
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According to a Justice Department court filing released Friday, Border Patrol agents apprehended single adults 143,903 times along the border with Mexico in November, down 9% from the 158,639 times in October.
Mexican single adults were detained 43,504 times, up from 56,088 times in October.
Nicaraguan adults were detained 27,369 times, compared to 16,497.
Cuban adults were apprehended 24,690 times by Border Patrol agents in November, up from 20,744.
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Venezuelan single adults were detained 3,513 times, down from 14,697.
The Biden administration has yet to say how it intends to deal with the expected flow of migrants.
Associated Press contributed to this report.