Posted on December 1, 2022

Biden Administration Eyes Border Overhaul as Title 42 Ends

Stef W. Knight, Axios, November 29, 2022

Top U.S. officials are considering drastic measures — including barring some asylum seekers and surging prosecutions of illegal border crossings — in preparation for an end to the pandemic-era Title 42 border policy, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Some of the ideas under serious consideration echo controversial immigration policies from the Trump administration. Others could expand legal avenues for migrants and asylum seekers in the region to enter the U.S.


Driving the news: A federal judge is forcing border officials to stop using Title 42 on Dec. 21.

Catch up quick: The Trump-era policy — continued under the Biden administration — cites public health concerns to allow Border Patrol to immediately expel migrants at the border without the chance for asylum.

  • U.S. officials anticipate the loss of the tool and the narrative that there are “open borders” will lead to a jump in the already-high number of border crossings. {snip}
  • Actions to expand legal pathways for migrants and asylum seekers and crack down on people who do not enter the U.S. at legal entry points were discussed in detail as recently as a Cabinet-head level meeting on Monday, according to the two sources familiar.


Details: Officials are moving toward a multi-pronged approach involving both carrot-and-stick domestic measures and continued diplomatic requests for countries to do more on asylum and border controls. Two measures being considered appear similar to controversial Trump policies.

  • One proposal would bar from asylum single adults who illegally cross the border and have not first applied for legal pathways offered by the U.S. or protection in other countries they traveled through. They would be placed in the expedited removal process.
  • There would be exceptions for extreme circumstances, although the specifics of those exceptions are unclear.
  • Another proposal calls for a surge in criminal prosecutions for single adults who have done nothing other than illegally cross the border — with a focus on those who evade Border Patrol. One source, however, said this would be a tough sell for the Justice Department.

To incentivize people to apply and enter the U.S. legally, officials are looking at raising the 24,000 person cap on the number of Venezuelans who can be paroled via a new process started last month. The process forces back to Mexico those who instead attempt to cross the border illegally.