Rising Covid-19 concerns could slow plans to scrap Trump-era border policy
The Biden administration may delay winding down a Trump-era border policy tied to the pandemic due to increasing concerns about Covid-19 variants, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The administration -- under fire from both conservatives and liberals on immigration -- had been considering ending the public health order that's allowed for the swift expulsion of migrants at the border in a phased approach by the end of July, starting with families. That timeline is now in flux.
The Biden administration has been under pressure to start easing pandemic-era border restrictions, including limits on nonessential travel. The White House declined Monday to commit to reopening its northern border to Canadians after Canada's government said vaccinated US citizens would be able to enter on August 9. The mixed messaging put a spotlight on the administration's lingering concerns over easing restrictions.
The administration has been facing fierce criticism for relying on a public health authority, known as Title 42, that was put in place under the Trump administration in early 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Since last October, US Border Patrol has expelled 751,844 migrants under the authority, according to agency data. The policy allows border officials to expel migrants encountered at the US-Mexico border.
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment and referred CNN to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
Immigrant advocates claim that the public health order, which is separate from nonessential travel restrictions, has put migrants in harm's way, leaving many, including those seeking asylum, in dangerous conditions in Mexico.