Beginning in March 2020, the Trump administration utilized broad public-health authority under Title 42 of the United States Code to restrict non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In May 2020, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new Title 42 order that extended its applicability indefinitely (subject to 30-day reviews of necessity) and applied the ban to aliens apprehended entering illegally at the coastal borders and seeking admission at the coastal ports of entry. As Andrew Arthur explained at the time, this revision was necessary “because Border Patrol stations handling aliens who have entered illegally via waterway and coastal ports of entry are not designed or equipped to handle aliens with or exposed to the disease, or to protect other aliens and CBP personnel from exposure to the illness.”
The Trump administration kept full applicability of Title 42’s expulsion authority for the remainder of its term. And, while not an immigration authority, its application deterred economic migrants from trying to enter the country under the guise of being asylum seekers. Along with other measures, this resulted in record-low border apprehensions and a southern border significantly more secure than when President Trump took office.
That success would be short lived, as the new Biden administration quickly undid various Trump immigration policies, creating enormous pull factors for illegal aliens to surge across the southern border in record numbers. One such example is the Biden administration’s Swiss cheese application of Title 42. While claiming it is fully applying it to immediately expel single adults, the Biden administration created a blanket exemption for unaccompanied alien children (UACs) and a partial exemption for family units. As I previously wrote, today’s unsuccessful family units turn into “separated” families as the parents pay coyotes and cartels to smuggle their kids to the border alone.
In the wake of last week’s decision to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico”, the Biden administration is under increased pressure from advocates of unlimited immigration to allow all of the aliens who were waiting in Mexico into the United States while they await their immigration court hearings.
Unwilling (for now) to fully end Title 42’s application, the Biden administration has apparently farmed out the vetting process of which aliens to allow into the country each day to six special interest groups. According to the Associated Press, only two of the advocacy groups (HIAS and Kids in Need of Defense) are U.S.-based organizations. The others include “global relief” International Rescue Committee, London-based Save the Children, and two Mexican-based organizations: Asylum Access and the Institute for Women in Migration.
The AP further reports that the Biden administration is allowing up to 250 illegal aliens per day into the country based on the groups’ recommendations. The article indicates that the agreement is in effect until July 31, but would it surprise anyone if this is extended if Title 42 authority hasn’t been fully terminated by then?
This unusual agreement, which the Biden administration has declined to comment on, raises numerous legal, security, and policy concerns. Beyond the questionable legality of the United States government delegating its authority to non-governmental organizations, the fact that four of the six entities are foreign organizations should add a new layer of discomfort for the American people.
A non-exhaustive list of questions that demand answers from the Biden administration include: What were the criteria for selecting these organizations? Why did you select foreign-based organizations? Are any foreign entities receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars in any form? Why is the U.S. government taking recommendations on individual aliens from advocacy groups that have no background in screening and vetting? What are the criteria these organizations are using to make their recommendations? What measures are in place to ensure these organizations are not accepting bribes (or being subjected to some form of coercion) in exchange for recommendations? Are the recommending entities responsible for ensuring aliens depart the country if their asylum claims are denied?