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Will Biden Resolve Immigration Policy Confusion In State Of Union?

President Biden has called for a bipartisan immigration policy since he stepped into office. He’s likely to make another appeal in Tuesday’s State of the Union. It’s questionable whether he’ll address the one Trump-era policy overseeing all others at the southern border, Title 42. That’s because the White House won’t fully explain where it stands, reports Politico. Last week, the Biden administration declared that COVID-19 national and public health emergencies would come to an end on May 11. It noted that Title 42 — which allowed the government to turn away asylum seekers on public health grounds — would end then, too. In the following days, the administration walked back that assertion — and refused to explain why, prompting confusion and furor among immigration groups.

“You have to have read half a dozen different Title 42 orders and court decisions and all the relevant statutory provisions” to understand the policy, said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council. “It’s not exactly user friendly.” The Biden administration is, by this point, used to being dogged over its immigration policies. The policy on Title 42 is uniquely confusing: a combustible combination of judicial challenges, public health considerations and acute political pressures, Politico says. The government has used Title 42 to turn away asylum seekers more than 2 million times for nearly three years. Until last week’s announcement, the policy’s fate was expected to be settled by the Supreme Court. Justices will hear arguments this month over a lawsuit filed by Republican-led states trying to keep the measure in place. In 2021, the Biden administration — prompting a wave of backlash from immigrant advocates and Democrats — rolled out its own Title 42 order that remains in place today. Now the policy could end in one of two ways — either via the expiration of a declared public health emergency or the Centers for Disease Control director’s determination that it was no longer necessary, “whichever occurs first.”


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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