The conversation around the use of Title 42 has been political, focused on public health, leveraged as a way to assist in increasing logistics for immigration, and everything else in between. It’s no secret that at the Mexican border, Title 42 continues to operate to keep potential immigrants, from a variety of countries, from coming into the United States illegally. But the provision will be ending soon and the Biden administration is sending reinforcements in the form of troops to help deal with the large influx of people seeking a better life.
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What Is Title 42?
Title 42 is a government emergency policy designed to address public health and social welfare. It allows for the prevention of communicable diseases, an issue that was of high concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trump administration widely used Title 42 policy to regulate border crossings under the premise of increased COVID-19 precautions starting in March 2020. Border patrol agents have since been able to expel migrants to their home or originating country, mainly Mexico, resulting in over 2 million expulsions and higher recidivism rates.
The bypassing of the asylum process hasn’t deterred many from attempting to cross the border, leading to a strain on resources at the southern border. More than punitive measures are required to address the desperation of those seeking assistance and protection, and Title 42 expulsion only adds to the multitude of problems.
Politics, Immigration, and the Affect on Our Nation’s Military
Regardless of your stance on immigration, it’s a complex subject that exists more in gray than black and white. Strongly worded, simple arguments could never do it justice. Title 42 immigration hurdles persist for those looking to come to the U.S. but the policy has been used by administrations on both sides.
This fact demonstrates that it’s a bipartisan issue regardless of what the media or public sentiment might otherwise claim. Overall, it’s unlikely that any quick fix for immigration will come about or be capable of handling the task at hand.
It’s not to say that there isn’t a specific need for dedicated efforts from the U.S. military in regard to national security and immigration, but there are situations in which governments should take great care in the treatment and use of military force. As was the case in past operations, the results can lead to an undesired domino effect.
One such example is Operation Lone Star, an adjacent military initiative on immigration, which has been plagued with issues affecting the reputation of not only the military but also the politicians involved. Not to mention, the fallout fell heavily on those actually deployed for the mission.
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Payments have been delayed, reports of harm done to local communities, and mental health issues, including death by suicide, have been dark spots on the operation as a whole. Meanwhile, immigration continues to be an issue without a long-term solution.
Is Title 42 Still in Effect?
The expiration of Title 42 is upon us as the policy is ending on May 11, 2023. This expiration is sparking the desire to provide additional troops deployed to the Mexican border. It’s expected that those reinforcements will be arriving on May 10, 2023.
The Pentagon has authorized 1,500 active-duty troops to be sent to the Mexican border for 90 days. The green light came from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in an effort to help with monitoring the area, completing data entry tasks, and guarding warehouses.
Law enforcement activities will be left to local authorities, but troops are going to support the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency in its efforts. Primarily, Soldiers of the U.S. Army and Marines from the U.S. Marine Corps are expected to be among the troops sent to the border, with National Guard troops also helping to fill in the numbers.
However, the National Guard already has an established presence that has been working toward these same efforts for months. Advanced preparation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been in place for a year in anticipation of this moment.
Additionally, El Paso, Texas, is bracing for the effects that come with an increased troop presence and the ending of Title 42. A state of emergency is being declared by Mayor Oscar Leeser ahead of the operation. The city officials will work on the need for systems and infrastructure, such as housing for immigrants during an operation that could turn out to be overwhelming.
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