Everyone is asking, ‘What will happen when Title 42 ends?’
The answer is: nobody can really know.
What we do know is that there is a lot of misinformation being circulated, and it has contributed to misplaced fear in Americans and false expectations for people seeking asylum in the U.S.
The truth is that none of us can advocate for solutions unless we have accurate information. Read below to understand what’s actually happening with border policies in South Texas.
What misinformation is being spread?
The idea that ending Title 42 is creating an immigration crisis.
Ending Title 42 is not ultimately the problem since the policy was put in place to curb the spread of COVID in 2020 and is now outdated.
The real problem is that there has been no actual immigration policy enacted in the years succeeding 2020, meaning that Title 42 has become the United States’ main form of immigration control as a default. As a result, the policy has created a bottleneck of numbers at the border instead of directing them elsewhere or moving them through a process of resettlement in the U.S.
The concern that the end of Title 42 really means the U.S. border is effectively “open.”
The Biden administration is enacting a policy known as Title 8 in place of the 2020 policy, and it is actually stricter than Title 42. Here are the main points of that policy:
- Migrants who cross through another country that receives asylum seekers and are not denied asylum there are not eligible for asylum in the U.S.*
- Migrants who cross the southern border without entering through a port of entry will be barred from entering for 5 years.
- Processing centers will be built in Colombia and Honduras to intercept traveling migrants and vet them for eligibility to apply for asylum and to get them to the U.S. in a safer way. The countries of Spain and Canada have also agreed to receive asylum seekers who are vetted by these processing centers.
The fear that trafficking and other criminal activity will increase when Title 42 ends.
This fear is based on the assumption that migrants are criminals, so more migrants = more crime. In actuality, traffickers and smugglers congregate at the border because they are targeting the vulnerable migrants who are gathered there waiting to enter the country legally.
It’s a grievous mistake to assume that the people fleeing to the U.S. are doing so to bring criminal activity to the southern border. The reality is that those migrants are the victims of violent crimes on the road to survival where the U.S. is the safe destination. This is evidenced in part by the fact that the U.S. has created a pathway to citizenship for migrants who are trafficked into the U.S. as a response to criminal targeting in the borderlands.
This means the border is a dangerous region and the activities there constitute a safety crisis for everyone, because where vulnerable people are gathered, criminals will gather to exploit their vulnerability.
What happens when misinformation is spread?
Because so many people are talking about Title 42 ending and not raising awareness of Title 8, migrants continue to travel to the U.S. believing they will be received. Many of them will be turned away under Title 8, creating more mass gatherings of displaced people in Mexico.
This will contribute to tensions on both sides of the border.
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement about efforts to respond to the results of Title 8, including combating misinformation that is leading migrating people astray.
Unfortunately, the most vulnerable people who are fleeing threats on their lives will continue to be turned away under strict policies because of the urgent need to respond to sheer numbers.
Blaming governmental efforts does not lead to answers. There are global issues creating these problems and putting people at risk, and many have scrambled to implement stop-gap solutions which have ultimately contributed to the difficulty of the issue. The crisis we are witnessing now is a result of many layers of complexity, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to get the facts straight.
What can we do today?
- Be diligent in prayer! You can download our immigration prayer guide to inform your your pleas to a loving and just God who is more merciful and generous and wise than we could ever be.
- Share accurate information like this post so everyone can be equipped with the truth and advocate for long-term solutions that address the needs of the most vulnerable.