WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Biden administration announced it will lift Title 42 restrictions, a pandemic-related public health order that has restricted illegal immigration for the past two years, starting May 23rd. Title 42 was introduced by the Trump administration to prohibit the entry of anyone who potentially poses a health risk as a means of helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 into border facilities and into the United States. Instead of being held in areas for processing, migrants are immediately expelled to their country of last transit. The measure has expelled 1.7 million migrants since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to data by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Patrice Onwuka, policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice, released the following statement:

“The lifting of Title 42 is alarming. America is on the precipice of an unprecedented surge of people at our southern border. The Biden administration is woefully unprepared to handle it. 

“Title 42 was one of the few powerful tools in our immigration tool belt that the administration was still willing to use to stem the flow of migrants entering our nation illegally. While it’s concerning that we have depended on an emergency health measure for two years to deter millions of people from staying here illegally, this measure–like the Remain in Mexico program–served an important and necessary purpose. If only the White House and Congress had spent those two years fixing our immigration system and prioritizing enforcement, we would not be in such a vulnerable position.

“Instead of leadership on the border crisis, our leaders have telegraphed mixed signals to people around the world. Expect drug cartels and human traffickers to ramp up their exploitation of our weakness. They will spread the message to people in desperate situations or looking for a better life that Biden’s ending of Title 42 guarantees their entrance into the U.S. The pandemic may be ending, but the mass influx has just begun.”