Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images
Chris Magnusthe boss of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP)acknowledged that the Title 42a Trump-era border rule that the Joe Biden administration has enforced for a year and a half, has taken a “human toll” on migrants, leaving them stranded in parts of Mexico where they must endure poor conditions and insecurity.
During an exclusive interview with CBS News at CBP headquarters, Magnus highlighted the humanitarian and operational problems caused by Title 42, that allows US border agents to quickly expel migrants for public health reasons.
“One of the things that I think cannot be denied is that conditions are very, very difficult for people who return to Mexico,” said Magnus. “We know that some of the shelters, some of the other places where migrants are waiting, are not ideal for families and children.”
Title 42 was authorized in March 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and has caused the expulsion of more than 2 million migrants to Mexico or their countries of origin in more than two years, according to government statistics.
The group Human Rights First has compiled more than 10,000 reports of attacks, kidnappings and murders against migrants stranded in Mexico since January 2021.
Magnus said the continued enforcement of Title 42, ordered by a federal court in May, is also exacerbating the operational challenges his officers face, because the policy has allowed many migrants to try to enter the US multiple times, inflating the arrests registered in the last year. CBP said that 22% of its border arrests in July involved immigrants who had previously been detained.
“It is frustrating for our agents and officers because we are, you know, we are expelling a lot of people, a lot of migrants that are covered by Title 42, just to see them try and actually in some cases even successfully cross the border again. over and over again, because under Title 42, there are no consequences,” Magnus said.
While Title 42 prevents migrants from seeking asylum, removals do not prevent migrants from trying again, unlike deportations.
Despite the problems it has caused, Magnus said Title 42 somehow “has value,” noting that removals limit the number of immigrants allowed into the US. Magnus also said the policy had “some public health value in the past.”
Certainly, Title 42 has some advantages. But it also has a human cost.”Chris Magnus, Chief of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
The Biden administration championed Title 42 as a necessary public health measure for more than a year, but moved to discontinue the policy this spring. But it was stopped by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general who convinced a federal judge in Louisiana to force the government and border officials to continue the removals indefinitely.
While tens of thousands of migrants continue to be expelled each month, the percentage of people crossing the border subject to Title 42 has fallen recently, according to CBP data.