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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Title 42 Ends

A pandemic-era border policy known as Title 42 is set to expire at midnight tonight, ending one of the federal government's primary tools in addressing a surge of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border over the past two years. Its ending was triggered by the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Most migrants arrive at the border and claim asylum. Adjudicating the process may take years, during which migrants are typically allowed to remain in the US (see overview). Title 42, originally implemented as an effort to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, allowed the government to expel certain migrants—mostly single adults—without going through the asylum process.

Migrant flows across the southwest border have reached record highs since 2021, nearing 2.4 million encounters in fiscal year 2022 (which covered October 2021-22, see data) and passing 250,000 in December alone (roughly one-quarter are reencounters with previously expelled individuals). About 45% of encounters in 2022 ended with Title 42 expulsion or about 1.1 million people.

Anticipating an additional surge in migrants, the White House reinstated a Trump-era rule limiting asylum eligibility while ordering 1,500 active-duty troops to the border.

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