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An Introduction to Title 42

Title 42 has been in the news as of late, especially in the context of the recent expulsions of Haitian migrants at the U.S. - Mexico border. But the constant news coverage begs the question, what exactly is Title 42?

What is Title 42?

Title 42 refers to Title 42, Section 265 of the U.S. Code originally enacted in 1944. It is part of a group of laws related to the Public Health and Welfare of the United States which provides the government with the authority to “prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert…” the introduction of communicable diseases into the United States.

In 1966, the authority conferred to the Surgeon General was transferred to what is now the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Secretary subsequently delegated this authority to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Title 42’s Current Usage

While Title 42’s plain language grants authority to HHS and the CDC to quarantine anyone, U.S. citizens included, entering the United States from abroad, its application has been significantly broadened, as it is currently being used to expel non-citizens from the United States.

On March 20, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the Trump Administration, issued an emergency regulation to implement Title 42 and permitting the Director of the CDC to prohibit the introduction of individuals into the US when the director believes that “there is serious danger of the introduction of [a communicable] disease into the United States.”

The same day that HHS issued is emergency regulation, the CDC issued an order prohibiting the admission of individuals who had been present in “Coronavirus Impacted Areas.”

While the CDC has indicated that its order does not apply to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent residents, it has maintained that it does maintain the authority, under Title 42, to also expel U.S. Citizens. However, its current application has been focused primarily at non-citizens, particularly asylum seekers located at the southern border.

Is Title 42 Necessary for Public Safety?

While the proposed rationale for Title 42 expulsions has always been public safety, some would argue that it serves no actual public safety purpose. Currently, non-citizens who are admitted to the United States are quarantined and tested for Covid-19; safeguards which would presumably serve to protect the public at large. Moreover, ICE has expelled migrant children who tested negative for COVID-19, severely undercutting the claim that the Title 42 expulsions are necessary to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 to the U.S.

Who is being affected by Title 42?

At present, Haitian migrants have been the most recent target of Title 42 exclusion. Individuals fleeing the unstable political and economic climate of Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenal Moise and the recent earthquake made the arduous journey to the US-Mexico border in an effort to seek asylum protections. However, the Biden Administration’s continued of Title 42 has deprived these individuals of their right to pursue asylum, without any due process safeguards to challenge these summary expulsions. Recent controversies at the border concerning the treatment of Haitian migrants further call into question the Biden administrations continued use of Title 42.

Next Steps

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed challenges in Federal Court seeking to end the use of Title 42. In a recent victory, a preliminary injunction was issued blocking the use of Title 42 to expel migrant families.

However, the Biden administration has appealed this order, in an effort to continue the use of Title 42 expulsions.

The court battle regarding the legality of Title 42 and its continued use will likely continue in the months to come.

The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. is Here for You

The crisis at the border is constantly evolving. At The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A., we are enthusiastic about helping our clients through these challenging, stressful, and ever-changing times and strive to remain up to date with the current state of the law to ensure that our clients have the best chance at having their relief approved.

We understand the difficulties that come with going through the immigration process and ensure excellence in our services throughout the process to give our clients the confidence they need in their legal professional.

Contact The Law Office of George K. Gomez, P.A. for a free, no obligation, consultation with an Immigration Attorney in Miami-Dade County, FL. Our telephone number is (305) 539-0991.

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