Is Title 42 an effective immigration policy?

While the burden on federal authorities will mount whenever Title 42 expires, border security sought to reassure the public that it would keep enforcing existing policies to control the flow of migration. In its statement last week, the DHS clarified it had checks and balances in place to prevent unlawful crossings.


Reverting to expulsions under the federal statute, Title 8, may entail lengthier processes but they’d come with more stringent penalties, including up to two years in prison if a person re-enters the country illegally after being removed or deported.

Without those consequences, Title 42 offered “a means to get multiple opportunities to enter the United States,” Ariel Ruiz Soto, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute think tank, told NBC News. “That is counterproductive because it in some ways incentivizes migrants to try multiple times and the more times that migrants try, the more likely that they’re successful,” he added.


Smugglers told Reuters their business boomed as they saved around $1,300 for every migrant who was returned at the US border rather than sent back to their homeland. They avoided having to pay off organized crime in Mexico once again, and could reattempt another crossing sooner.

Under Title 42, the recidivism rate—percentage of people apprehended more than once by a Border Patrol officer—increased from 7% in 2019 to as much as 27% in 2022.


The Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy is also subject to court battles

Last week, a federal judge stopped the Biden administration from terminating the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the Trump-era policy lets the US government return certain asylum seekers to Mexico to wait through the duration of their cases pending in the US immigration court system. It was touted as a way to keep illegal immigration at bay, but it puts a vulnerable population at risk of “kidnappings, rapes, and other violent attacks,” nonpartisan activist organization Human Rights First argues.


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🌎 In a hotter, more crowded world, immigration is inevitable

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