According to two administration officials, the Biden Administration is considering reinstating the policy of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally. This was a practice that originally ended when Joe Biden came into office. As they prepare for the end of Title 42, which is the public health order that allows border agents to immediately turn away certain migrants who crossed the southern border illegally, the administration officials are mulling over several options.
In recent days, the White House and Department of Homeland Security officials have had several meetings in order to discuss the possibility of reviving the practice ahead of the expiration of Title 42 in May and as migrant border crossings remain high. As of now, the White House has declined to comment.
According to CNN, a Homeland Security spokesperson said, “No decisions have been made as we prepare for the Title 42 Public Health Order to lift. The Administration will continue to prioritize safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants.”
One official said that the administration is looking at multiple options for how to handle migrant families at the southern border, not all of them involving family detention.
Another source that is familiar with these plans has added that among the options discussed are some that wouldn’t involve family detention in ICE facilities. This source also said that family detentions would be limited to a small number of days – an attempt to set the policy apart from the Trump administration’s handling of family detentions.
The New York Times was the first to report on this topic. According to their article, Biden has increasingly turned to tougher border enforcement measures in recent months. This has drawn criticism from immigrant advocates and progressive Democrats, who view the changes as a return to some of the policies under President Trump.
The administration also released a new rule last month that largely bars migrants who traveled through other countries on their way to the US-Mexico border from applying for asylum in the United States, marking a departure from decades-long protocol.