SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The US announced Friday that it will end a sweeping pandemic-related expulsion policy that effectively closed down the asylum system at the US-Mexico border, and Title 42 will remain in effect until May 23.
Immigration attorneys say that over the next several weeks, we could expect to see chaos, confusion, and swarms of migrants at our ports. But the promise of this order being gone will allow people the opportunity to start a process many have not been granted.
"This is an important and crucial step at using immigrant laws to deal with immigration issues," said Bardis Vakili, the Interim Legal Director of ACLU for San Diego and Imperial counties.
Experts believe the announcement of Title 42 ending come May 23 is crucial.
"There are desperate people who have been waiting patiently," said Vakili. "And now they will get their day."
The order allows the US to expel those seeking asylum because of concerns over COVID. With Title 42 gone, immigration attorneys say that those who are either fleeing their country or looking to live in the U.S. will be given the chance to start their asylum process.
Jacob Sapochnick, an Immigration Attorney, says that it is something that needs preparation, which is why Title 42 will not be lifted until May.
"They need time to move agents to the border, time to train more asylum officers to process cases at the border and take it away from the judges, to create enough strategy," said Sapochnick.
"At the border, where people are not eligible for benefits, how do you send them back?"
The Secretary of Homeland Security says that they have plans in place to address potential increases at the border, one of which is to deploy more than 600 law enforcement officers to our southern borders. Experts believe our ports may see more arrests and stress.
"The port of entry is not ready at the moment 100%," said Sapochnick.
"There is a lot of miscommunication, people are waiting for hours to be seen by an officer. As a whole, I think the lifting of Title 42 should only encourage the government to have more procedures and more people at the border equipped to handle the people coming in. Because they are coming no matter what."
Experts note that orders like 'Remain in Mexico', which force migrants to wait in Mexico for immigration court hearings, will remain in place.
Vakili hopes that with Title 42 lifted, migrants will not have to wait as long.
"Some are going to win, some are going to lose, but what we advocate for is a process, a fair one, and one that people can access from a place of safety."
The Department of Homeland Security says that until May 23, they will continue to expel single adults and families at our border. After that date, they will go back to standard procedures for removal proceedings.