Several days after the Supreme Court ruled that Trump-era restriction of Title 42 must stay in place for what could be months as a legal battle over their future plays out, sources say that the Biden administration is planning to use it to expel back to Mexico many Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian migrants caught at the southern border.
Under Title 42, border agents are allowed to rapidly expel migrants to Mexico without giving them a chance to seek asylum. The policy was originally issued by the Republican former President Donald Trump at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020.
According to three unnamed US officials familiar with the matter, Washington plans to simultaneously allow some immigrants to enter the United States by air on humanitarian grounds.
While two officials say the policy shift for the immigrants could come as soon as this week, the third one pointed out that the new order would go into effect for Nicaraguans at a later date and that it could only apply to Cuban and Haitian immigrants this week.
However, no final decision has been made yet.
The shift in policy comes after increasing numbers of migrants from these countries have sought US asylum after crossing the US-Mexico and Washington has faced complicated deportations to those countries due to the frosty diplomatic relations between the United States and the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
These new rules would reportedly be modeled on an existing program for Venezuelans Washington launched in October allowing up to 24,000 Venezuelans outside the US to apply to enter the country by air through humanitarian parole if they have sponsors in the US.
Under Title 42, Mexico has only accepted the expulsion of some nationalities – mostly Mexicans and Central Americans – it agreed in October to also accept back Venezuelans, causing their crossings to drop dramatically.