03 May 2023, The Tablet

Catholics welcome new immigration centres

Title 42, a public health law used to expedite deportations, will expire on 11 May.

Catholics welcome new immigration centres

Migrants in a street in El Paso, Texas. The city declared a state of emergency on 1 May in anticipation of a surge in numbers crossing the border when Title 42 expires.
Associated Press/Alamy

The Biden administration announced a new scheme to prevent an expected surge in border crossings when a controversial policy that allowed the government to quickly expel migrants expires by court order later this month.

The administration said it would establish migrant processing centres throughout Latin America so that those seeking to enter the US could have their claims heard before making the dangerous trek north.

“The whole model is to reach the people where they are, to cut the smugglers out, and to have them avoid the perilous journey,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

He also made clear that those wishing to enter the US legally should not follow the lies being told by human smugglers.

“The smugglers’ propaganda is false. Our border is not open, and will not be open after 11 May,” Mayorkas said.

The policy set to expire, known as Title 42, was invoked by the Trump administration during the pandemic. Although it is a public health law, it served as an excuse to expedite and increase deportations.

“We strongly support increased refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean as a reliable pathway to lasting safety for those who have been forcibly displaced,” said Bishop Mark Seitz, chair of the US bishops’ committee on migration.

“Therefore, we commend the Biden administration for recognising this need and look forward to its close coordination with civil society and Congress to ensure the successful integration of these newcomers.”

Kevin Appleby of the Centre for Migration Studies said that the core problem was Congress’ failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

“Congress has not had the political courage to reform the immigration system,” Appleby said.

“So it’s left to the executive branch to come up with these responses, when Congress should be working with the administration to pass legislation to overhaul our immigration laws.”

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