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Biden Considers Detaining Migrant Families At Border

The Biden administration is discussing the possibility of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally, as officials prepare to put in place more restrictive border-control measures to counter an expected surge in migrants, reports the Wall Street Journal. Administration officials have discussed various border policy proposals ahead of the end of Title 42, which allowed authorities to expel quickly asylum-seeking migrants who crossed the border illegally. Reversing the Biden administration’s current policy and detaining migrant families has been one of the proposals discussed. If the administration moves forward with detaining families, they would be held for a limited number of days for processing only and would comply with a decades-old court settlement governing the detention of immigrant children that has generally barred the government from detaining families for longer than about 20 days. Asylum cases typically take far longer to decide. Cases of asylum seekers not being held in jail are pending in federal immigration court for an average of about 4.2 years, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.


The Title 42 policy is set to be lifted May 11 with the expiration of a national emergency for the COVID pandemic. The administration has previously projected that the end of the rule could lead to an increase of between 11,000 and 13,000 daily encounters at the border without any policy changes. After the Supreme Court ruled to keep Title 42 in place until May 11, some migrants at the Mexico-U.S. border want to wait for more news while others have decided to cross into the U.S. illegally. The Biden administration in 2021 halted migrant family detention. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said no final decisions had been made and that the administration would “continue to prioritize safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants.” If the Biden administration moves forward with the policy, it would have to contend with budgetary issues and challenges in finding detention facilities that meet legal standards.

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