Check out the Source Analysis Activity in our Immigration at the Southern Border topic for a deeper dive into asylum hearings.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. government placed additional restrictions on land-border crossings. President Trump enacted Title 42 — dubbed the Remain in Mexico Policy — which forced asylum seekers to wait for their asylum hearing in Mexico rather than being released into the United States.
President Biden is now under pressure to let Title 42 sunset as it is slated for renewal. Title 42 has resulted in the expulsions of more than 1.7 million migrants since its implementation in March 2020.
Sunsetting is allowing a temporary measure to expire. To learn about a famous case of a law sunsetting, check out the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 in our Gun Control Historical Brief.
Those on the Right have been concerned with the number of illegal border crossings and look to keep Trump-era policies intact. Last year, Republicans published a proposal bill titled the Border Surge Response and Resilience Act listing urgent solutions to potential surges of migrants at the southern border. Democrats point to overcrowded detention facilities and camps where desperate migrants have been waiting to cross, highlighting the humanitarian issues that President Biden must solve.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained 7,493 individuals in February, but reports show the Biden administration will likely make more than 200,000 detentions at the U.S.-Mexico border in March. Since President Biden took office, border crossings have dramatically increased from 646,822 in FY 2020 to 1,956,519 in FY 2021. With the potential elimination of Title 42, FY 2022 is on pace to be higher, with 967,743 CBP encounters since last October.
Along with increased border crossing comes an increasing number of drugs entering the country. Recently, fentanyl has become a high-priority seizure due to its deadliness. 2.2 pounds of fentanyl has the potency to kill half a million Americans. During the midpoint of FY 2021, CBP officials confiscated 41 pounds of fentanyl in a single bust, a sharp rise from FY 2018-2020. Authorities have also impounded higher rates of other drugs, such as meth, which saw 85% more seizures in FY 2021.
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