The US plans to increase security on the US-Mexican border in light of the expiration of a controversial Trump-era policy.
Pentagon announced that there will be a temporary deployment of 1500 troops for securing the U.S.-Mexico border for 90 days. The troops will assist the border patrol but won’t carry out any law enforcement duties.
As per the Pentagon statement, the troops will engage in monitoring, data entry and warehouse support to fill in critical gaps.
This decision has been taken into account for a possible rise in illegal immigration after the lifting of Border restrictions later this month. The force will be in addition to the ongoing deployment of about 2,500 National Guard troops
This action is seen after Cuba’s agreement to take in illegal migrants caught at the border.
What is Title 42?
Title 42 refers to the US State Code of Law policy under the Public Health Service Act of 1944. This provision allows the government to take emergency actions in health and social welfare. It also includes the provision to “stop the introduction of communicable diseases.”
It was used widely by Former President Trump’s administration to regulate border crossings under the premise of increased COVID-19 precautions. This policy was used to surpass the immigration law and sent the migrants back to Mexico.
There were reports in June 2021 that stated that the Biden Administration is considering removing this policy; however, the policy stayed in place, citing the need to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
In April 2022, the Biden Administration introduced a program for providing an exemption from Title 42 and allowing Ukrainians to enter the USA under the “Uniting for Ukraine” program and obtain humanitarian parole and work permits. No limit was given to the number of asylum seekers from Ukraine. A similar program was made for the Venezuelans in October 2022, but the number was capped at 24,000 and must arrive by air in October 2022.
Venezuelans who arrived through illegal crossing into Mexico or Panama illegally would be expelled to Mexico by the invokement of Title 42, with a large number escaping the country amid an economic crisis.
Title 42 restrictions will end on May 11, permitting authorities to deport migrants to Mexico without allowing them to seek asylum.
This decision can be seen as a part of President Biden’s re-election campaign, with the country headed for polls in 2024. Biden’s Presidency is marred with record numbers of illegal migrants crossing the US-Mexico Border.
The Republican Party have targeted Biden for the rollback on Trump’s hardline policies. Democratic party members also called him out for contradicting his stances alongside Immigration Activists.
Some Democrats and immigration activists have lambasted the incumbent president for his approach towards border security, contrasting his election promises.
A tweet came from Bilal Askaryar, the interim campaign manager of #WelcomeWith Dignity, stating that Asylum seekers should meet with professionals, volunteers and healthcare providers instead of soldiers.
Democrat Senator Bob Menendez stated that the president’s decision to send troops was unacceptable and this action caters to the Republican Party’s Xenophobia. He also called the president for his attempt to score political points by intimidating migrants through the deployment.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the deployments a common practice by American Leaders.
The Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, stated that Mexico respects the decision taken by the US and respects the sovereignty of its Northern Counterpart. It also announced that the country would be accepting migrants returning to the country on humanitarian grounds
Pentagon leaders have expressed their frustration about military deployments to the border and fear that such actions can affect military readiness. They think such tasks should stay with law enforcement agencies.
Immigration Policies have been a part of political discourse in the USA. This sudden reaction is a sign that Immigration will be a major agenda in the upcoming presidential elections.