With many far-right and anti-immigrant sentiments coming from the Trump administration, it appears they were able to meet their goals of turning away asylum seekers while using public health policy as an excuse. On March 20, 2020, the CDC, ('United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention', the national public health agency that works during the pandemic), implemented an order that prohibits all non-citizens from reaching the border without valid documents, which is completely separate from the normal process of removing immigrants and does not even allow hearings or assertions of asylum applications.
Due to the dangers of the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States created this ban for people from countries where a quarantinable contagious disease exists, but it will primarily disproportionately affect migrants crossing. the border from Mexico or Canada arriving without a visa. While this measure is advocated by healthcare professionals, it is still a violation of US law, in which it is a human right to seek asylum within US borders.
Then Title 42 was introduced to basically close the United States border to almost all asylum seekers. Steven Miller, a far-right political adviser and speechwriting director for Donald Trump, was able to misrepresent a 75-year-old public health law that consisted of granting quarantine authority to health officials in their attempts to ban applicants from asylum entering the US Title 42 violates the Refugee Act, legal safeguards for unaccompanied minors, and fundamental procedural rights.
Why is this law so dangerous?
Immigration policy prior to COVID-19 in the United States guarantees a screening for every person crossing the border, and these screening ensured that people in need of protection were not turned away. With these new policies, those evaluations and examinations are often skipped and asylum seekers are immediately turned away. Since March 2020, Customs and Border Protection has carried out more than 642,700 removals under Title 42, most of them without conducting the required controls.
In addition, the government has been expelling particularly vulnerable people, such as those who are sick, traveling with children, or pregnant. Title 42 has contributed to the separation of many families, and data on these separations is not collected, so we lack information on the detrimental effects of these policies. Hopefully, in the coming weeks CDC is going to work with the shelter networks and focus more on providing vaccines, protective gear, and other necessities rather than expelling them at the border. If they want to create fair laws that keep public health a priority, they would be working to ensure that immigrants can be accepted into the United States safely and humanely.