What is Title 42?


A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked a Biden administration order to terminate Title 42. The judge claims the Biden administration failed to go through the required notice and comment process prior to terminating the policy. 

Title 42 is a public emergency health order that got invoked at the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is part of the Public Service Health Act of 1944

When the Director of the CDC determines that a communicable disease is plaguing another country the Director of the CDC has the authority, with presidential approval, to block people from that nation from coming into the United States for as long as health officials believe the action to be necessary. It was first invoked in 1929 to block Chinese and Filipino immigrants from entering the country during a meningitis outbreak in those two nations.

During the pandemic, the Trump Administration invoked Title 42 to seal the land borders with Canada and Mexico to block any migrants seeking asylum, in spite of the fact that there was little evidence that this move would help block the spread of Covid 19. While it has blocked Latinx and Haitian migrants, an exception was made for Ukranians fleeing the Russian invasion. 

The order doesn’t just block entry. It can also be used to remove migrants. The Biden administration did tell immigration officials to exempt unaccompanied children from Title 42. These children are placed in a federal shelter or a state-run facility until they are reunited with a family member in the US or until they find a sponsor. 

The restriction against lifting Title 42 will stay in place until a 24-state lawsuit led by Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri is resolved in the courts. The lawsuit argued that the policy “needed to remain in order to avoid a wave of illegal migration and drug trafficking,” an argument which has nothing at all to do with disease control. It is an injunction, and not a full on block against terminating restrictions.

There is some hope in all of this. The Biden Administration recently launched a new policy to give migrants who wish to claim asylum expedited processing. Under the new policy passing your credible fear hearing would mean having the ability to make your asylum case directly to an asylum officer, which could mean a faster path to a green card for migrants who have particularly strong cases. 

If you are worried about a loved one who is trapped in a Mexican border town due to Title 42 restrictions, reach out to our office to see what options may be available. Having an immigration lawyer on your side improves a person’s chances of success even when the current immigration climate turns moving into the United States into a difficult and dangerous process.

See also: 

7 Documents You’ll Need For Your Asylum Case

What Is the Current Law on Claiming Asylum in the United States?

How Much Does an Immigration Lawyer Cost?  

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